Classic History Books

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

to die, a hero to the very last.

In the thick of the short, fierce fire-fight the bagpipes began to skirl, the Highlanders dashed down their
muskets, drew their claymores, and gave a yell that might have been heard across the river. In a moment

every British bugle was sounding the 'Charge' and the whole red, living wall was rushing forward with a

roaring cheer.

But it charged without Wolfe. He had been mortally wounded just after giving the signal for those
famous volleys. Two officers sprang to his side. 'Hold me up!' he implored them, 'don't let my gallant

fellows see me fall!' With the help of a couple of men he was carried back to the far side of a little knoll

and seated on a grenadier's folded coat, while the grenadier who had taken it off ran over to a spring to

get some water. Wolfe knew at once that he was dying. But he did not yet know how the battle had gone.

His head had sunk on his breast, and his eyes were already glazing, when an officer on the knoll called

out, 'They run! They run! 'Egad, they give way everywhere!' Rousing himself, as if from sleep, Wolfe

asked, 'Who run?' - 'The French, sir!' - 'Then I die content!' - and, almost as he said it, he breathed his


He was not buried on the field he won, nor even in the country that he conquered. All that was mortal of
him - his poor, sick, wounded body - was borne back across the sea, and carried in mourning triumph

through his native land. And there, in the family vault at Greenwich, near the school he had left for his

first war, half his short life ago, he was laid to rest on November 20 - at the very time when his own great

victory before Quebec was being confirmed by Hawke's magnificently daring attack on the French fleet

amid all the dangers of that wild night in Quiberon Bay.

Canada has none of his mortality. But could she have anything more sacred than the spot from which his
soaring spirit took its flight into immortal fame? And could this sacred spot be marked by any words

more winged than these:





Wolfe's victory on the Plains of Abraham proved decisive in the end; but it was not the last of the great
struggle for the Key of Canada.

After Wolfe had died on the field of battle, and Monckton had been disabled by his wounds, Townshend
took command, received the surrender of Quebec on the 18th, and waited till the French field army had

retired towards Montreal. Then he sailed home with Saunders, leaving Murray to hold what Wolfe had

won. Saunders left Lord Colville in charge of a strong squadron, with orders to wait at Halifax till the


Both French and British spent a terrible winter. The French had better shelter in Montreal than the British
had among the ruins of Quebec; and, being more accustomed to the rigours of the climate, they would

have suffered less from cold in any case. But their lot was, on the whole, the harder of the two; for food

was particularly bad and scarce in Montreal, where even horseflesh was thought a luxury. Both armies

were ravaged by disease to a most alarming extent. Of the eight thousand men with whom Murray began

that deadly winter not one-half were able to bear arms in the spring; and not one-half of those who did


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