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Few men in the Victorian Age achieved the stature of Field Marshal Garnet Wolesley, a dedicated soldier, man of foresight and vision, colonial administrator and up holder of the Pax Britannica from India to Africa.
Viscount Wolseley started his military career in the little-known Second Anglo-Burmese War (1852), before being plunged into the bloody senseless conflict of the Crimean War (1854-55). His disgust of the mismanagement and amateurish conduct of the British army left him with a lifelong dedication to efficiency, his men and victory. Distinguished for his bravery during the Indian Mutiny (1857-1858), at Alambagh and Lucknow, and again during an expedition to China.
His globetrotting career led him to North America where he was present during the early battles of the Civil War and his anecdotes of this time are pithy and worthy enough to be quoted even to this day. Duty called him away north to Canada to re-establish British dominion over the Red River province which he did with aplomb. He was now among the top generals of the British army; and was sent to bring the Ashanti campaign to a successful conclusion. He took over command from Lord Chelmsford in 1878 after the disastrous start to the Zulu war which he ruthlessly won with tenacity and dedication. However his finest hour was yet to come in Egypt; he destroyed the rebellion of Urabi Pasha in short order after the battle of Tel-el-Kebir and commanded the ill-fated, but ultimately brilliant, effort to relieve General Gordon in Khartoum.
His two volume memoirs recount his brilliant career to his famous victory in the Ashanti War 1873-1874 and are a must read for anyone interested in the Victorian age or the British Empire.