Classic History Books


William Wood - The Winning of Canada: A Chronicle of Wolfe

My brother and self escaped in the engagement and,
thank God, are as well as ever we were in our lives,

after not only being cannonaded two hours and

three-quarters, and fighting with small arms [muskets

and bayonets] two hours and one-quarter, but lay the

two following nights upon our arms; whilst it rained

for about twenty hours in the same time, yet are ready

and as capable to do the same again. The Duke of

Cumberland behaved charmingly. Our regiment has got

a great deal of honour, for we were in the middle of

the first line, and in the greatest danger. My brother

has wrote to my father and I believe has given him a

small account of the battle, so I hope you will excuse

it me.

A manly and soldier-like letter for a boy of fifteen! Wolfe's own is much longer and full of touches that
show how cool and observant he was, even in his first battle and at the age of only sixteen. Here is some

of it:

The Gens d'Armes, or Mousquetaires Gris, attacked the
first line, composed of nine regiments of English

foot, and four or five of Austrians, and some

Hanoverians. But before they got to the second line,

out of two hundred there were not forty living. These

unhappy men were of the first families in France.

Nothing, I believe, could be more rash than their

undertaking. The third and last attack was made by

the foot on both sides. We advanced towards one another;

our men in high spirits, and very impatient for

fighting, being elated with beating the French Horse,

part of which advanced towards us; while the rest

attacked our Horse, but were soon driven back by the

great fire we gave them. The major and I (for we had

neither colonel nor lieutenant-colonel), before they

came near, were employed in begging and ordering the

men not to fire at too great a distance, but to keep

it till the enemy should come near us; but to little

purpose. The whole fired when they thought they could

reach them, which had like to have ruined us. However,

we soon rallied again, and attacked them with great

fury, which gained us a complete victory, and forced

the enemy to retire in great haste. We got the sad

news of the death of as good and brave a man as any

amongst us, General Clayton. His death gave us all

sorrow, so great was the opinion we had of him. He

had, 'tis said, orders for pursuing the enemy, and if

 

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