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James Wolfe Essay

2186 words - 9 pages

Hero Does Not Fit |
Does James Wolfe Deserve the Title ‘Hero of Quebec’ |
Zachary Bliss |
12/6/2012 |
Dr. Daryl White


The battle of the Plains of Abraham was a turning point in the Seven Years War once the British defeated the French at Quebec they never relinquished hold of the city. It did not signal the end to the fighting but it gave the British the upper hand. The French army commanded by Louis-Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm was much larger than the British force commanded by Major-General James Wolfe. Montcalm had the help of François-Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil, the governor of Trois-Riviere and when Great Britain declared war on France he commanded ...view middle of the document...

Wolfe’s commands were to stay back and wait for Montcalm to have his army split into two fronts. Wolfe knew he was outnumbered and he was smart about that. Wolfe held off from rushing to attack Quebec and instead laid siege to the city from a distance using artillery and cannon fire. This turned out to be an excellent strategy as it provoked the people of Quebec to beg for a group of people to head out and attack Wolfe head on to end the fighting. Montcalm sent Jean-Daniel Dumas, one of his best colonial officers to head the charge and try to dislodge Wolfe from his place at Pointe Levis. Dumas broke his troops into two columns and split up. In the darkness one column seen the other column and mistook them for the enemy. Panic ensued from both column and a volley of shots was fired. All of Dumas’ soldiers began to flee back towards the boats, two more volleys were fired and by the time Dumas made it to the boats two-thirds of his men were already there waiting to shove off and head back to Quebec. After this embarrassment of a mission an exodus was made from the city. Families had seen their houses being blown apart and devastated by artillery from the English.
Quebec’s geography was one thing that stopped Wolfe from attacking the city straight on. It was built on what is today called the Quebec Promontory. The promontory is the cliff that Quebec was founded on. It gives excellent sight to the river where the French were able to see every ship that tried to pass through on the St. Lawrence.The geography of Quebec made it strong but the logistics made it vulnerable. Quebec had no real food sources besides their farming. When the crops of 1758 failed the only reason they had any food to survive was Michael-Joseph Cadet and his huge organization creating jobs and supplying people with food. Quebec was just isolated enough that they were able to fortify and guard most of their front with only a few men. That was however, a mistake. It allowed Wolfe’s men to find a hole in the French defence and sneak up onto the battle field, the Plains of Abraham. Another mistake that Montcalm made was not fortifying Pointe Levis. It was situated right across the river from Quebec and Montcalm all but gave it to the British. Had he been smart enough to strengthen Pointe Levis and deploy troops there the British would not have been able to take it so easily and perhaps not at all. Without the British at Pointe Levis they wouldn’t have been able to ravage Quebec with artillery fire. The geography of Quebec and surrounding areas also took its toll on Wolfe’s men. A few of Quebec’s defenders were popping in and out of the woods shooting at the English. This caused them to resort to living in much tighter, more fortified camps. Living in these camps were microbes, vermin and diseases that ate at the resolve and health of Wolfe’s men. After all this disease made its way through Wolfe’s camps he had only six thousand men that were fit to fight. The geography was...

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