A Bard of Wolfe’s Army:
James Thompson, Gentleman Volunteer, 1733-1830
Edited by Earl John Chapman & Ian Macpherson McCulloch
As a young grenadier in Fraser’s Highlanders, Sergeant James Thompson served in the capture of Louisbourg in 1758, the battle of the Plains of Abraham at Quebec in 1759 and the battle of Sillery the following year. Later he experienced the American blockade of Quebec by Generals Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold during the Revolutionary War. He remained in Quebec the rest of his long life. His collected anecdotes form one of the most interesting personal accounts of soldiering during the Seven Years’ War, and his journal offers an authentic first-hand view of life in Quebec in the years that followed. An astute observer with an eye for a humorous story, by the time he reached old age he was sought out by governors general and royalty to recount his stories of earlier times.
In this book, editors Earl Chapman and Ian McCulloch not only present Thompson's anecdotes in one volume for the first time, but they also provide a wealth of explanation and historical background that helps to bring the period to life and places Thompson's experiences in context.
From the foreword by Peter MacLeod, Historian, Pre-Confederation, Canadian War Museum
“In the course of his short but adventurous military career, Thompson met James Wolfe, who addressed him as ‘Brother Soldier,’ at the siege of Louisbourg, carried a wounded French soldier to an aid station after the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, and kept the sword of the commander of the American assault on Quebec City as a souvenir. Striking as they are, these are just three examples of a cascade of sparkling vignettes covering crime, scandal, valour, victory, defeat, honour, humour, a pet puppy and day-to-day life as a soldier.”
"In the rich and colourful memoirs of James Thompson we hear the authentic voice of a Highland veteran of Wolfe's army. Enhanced here by expert editorial notes, Thompson's unique 'oral history' of the campaigns that decided the destiny of North America will undoubtedly appeal to specialists and general readers alike." Dr. Stephen Brumwell, award-winning author of Paths of Glory: The Life and Death of General James Wolfe.
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