"Dishonour—tho' in my mind, there never was in any Troops Sea & Land, a better disposition to serve." Wolfe reports to his father of the British defeat at the Battle of Rochefort during the Seven Years War with France but a prelude to his heroic actions in Canada. "By the Viper Sloop, I have the displeasure to inform you that our operations here are at an end; we lost the lucky moment in war & Are not able to recover it—The whole of this Expedition has not cost the natives 10 men — nor has any man been able to distinguish himself in the service of his Country, except Mr: Howe who was a great Example to us all."
In 1757 Wolfe participated in the British amphibious assault on Rochefort, a seaport on the French Atlantic coast. He was selected to take part in the expedition partly because of his friendship with its commander, Sir John Mordaunt. The attempt failed since after capturing an island offshore, the British made no attempt to land on the mainland and press on to Rochefort; instead they withdrew home. In spite of what he wrote to his father, Wolfe was nonetheless one of the few military leaders who had distinguished himself in the raid— having gone ashore to scout the terrain, and having urged Mordaunt into action. While the failure irritated Wolfe, he was able to draw valuable lessons about amphibious warfare that influenced his later operations at Louisbourg and Quebec.
As a result of his actions at Rochefort, Wolfe was brought to the notice of the Prime Minister, William Pitt, the Elder. Pitt had determined that the advantage in the war was to be gained in North America where France was vulnerable, and planned an assault on French Canada, with Wolfe promoted over the heads of a number of senior officers. He died of his wounds 13 September 1759 at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham after routing the French.
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