British General James Wolfe, 1759
Wolfe was commissioned in the Royal Marines at the age of 14, was made a brigade major at the age of 18, and a lieutenant-colonel by 23. He was extolled by his troops for never asking more of them than he himself could endure. He was famous for carrying the same kit as his infantrymen: musket, cartridge box, and bayonet – unheard of for officers of the day. During the Seven Years’ War, Wolfe found himself in North America and in 1757 his command sailed up the Saint Lawrence River to capture Quebec City. After stalemate and siege, Wolfe ordered an amphibious landing; his army to then scale a 200 meter cliff. This surprised French commander, Marquis de Montcalm, who thought his position impenetrable. The resulting Battle of the Plains of Abraham saw the British capture the city but caused the deaths of the top military commanders on each side – Wolfe from three musket balls and Montcalm, a single shot to the back.
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