Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
July 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


James Wolfe


Wolfe, James (1727-1759), soldier, was born at Westerham, Kent, England, on January 2, 1727, the son of Colonel Edward Wolfe. He was educated at Westerham and at Greenwich ; and in 1741 he obtained a commission as second lieutenant in his father's regiment of Marines. In 17 42 he was transferred to the 12th Foot; and during the next fifteen years he saw service in the Netherlands, in Germany, and in Scotland. He was present at Dettingen in 1743, and at Culloden in 1745. Promoted to be lieutenant-colonel in 1750, and colonel in 1757, he was appointed in 1758 a brigadier-general in the exp­dition against Louisbourg; and the capture of Louisbourg was mainly due to his dash and resourcefulness. William Pitt, disregarding the claims of senior officers, then appointed him to command the expedition against Quebec in 1759, with the rank of major-general, at the age of thirty-two years. He invested the citadel of Quebec during the summer of 1759, and on the night of Setember 12-13 he succeeded in placing his army on the Plains of Abraham, to the west of Quebec. The battle which followed, on the morning of September 13, resulted in the defeat of the French and the capture of Quebec. But during the battle Wolfe fell, mortally wounded, and died a few minutes later. He was not married.


See W. T. Waugh, James Wolfe (Montreal, 1928); F. W. Whitton, Wolfe and North America; B. Willson, The life and letters of James Wolfe (London, 1909); R. Wright, The life of Major-general James Wolfe (London, 1864) ; E. Salmon, General Wolfe (London, 1909) ; F. Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe (2 vols., Boston, 1884) ; W. Wood, The winning of Canada (Toronto, 1914) and The fight for Canada (London, 1905); A. G. Doughty and G. W. Parmalee, The siege of Quebec (6 vols., Quebec, 1901) ; Marquess of Sligo, Some notes on the death of Wolfe (Can. hist. review, 1922); A. G. Doughty (ed.), A new account of the death of Wolfe (Can. hist. review, 1923); J. C. Webster, A study of the portraiture of James Wolfe (Trans. Roy. Soc. Can., 1925) and Wolfiana (Shediac, New Brunswick, 1927) ; A. E. Wolfe-Aylward, The pictorial life of Wolfe (Plymouth, 1926).

[Consult the article on Wolfe at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.]

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Source: W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., "James Wolfe", in The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. VI, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 398p., pp. 315-316.



© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College