Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: Wolseley, Garnet Joseph Wolseley 1st Viscount
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(wʊlz'lē), 1833–1913, British field marshal. He fought in Burma (present-day Myanmar; 1852–53), the Crimea (1854–56), India (1857–58), and China (1860), and was an observer in the American Civil War. Later he went to Canada as commander of the Red River expedition (1870), and suppressed the rebellion led by Louis Riel at Fort Garry. After conducting the Ashanti campaign (1873–74), he served as high commissioner of Cyprus (1878) and as an administrator in South Africa (1879–80). His most famous achievements were the brilliant defeat of Arabi Pasha, leader of an Egyptian army revolt, at Tell el Kebir in 1882 and his attempt to relieve General Charles G. Gordon at Khartoum (1884–85), for which he was made a viscount. A tireless advocate of army reform, he became (1871) assistant adjutant general at the war office and worked with Viscount Cardwell to achieve shorter periods of enlistment, abolition of the purchase of commissions, and the creation of an army reserve. As quartermaster general (1880–82), adjutant general (1882–90), commander in chief for Ireland (1890–95), and commander in chief of the army (1895–1901), he continued to press for reform and was responsible for the modernization of training and equipment. He wrote The Story of a Soldier's Life (1903).

  • See his The American Civil War: An English View, ed. by Rawley, J. A. (1964);.
  • his Khartoum journal, In Relief of Gordon (1967),.
  • his South African diaries (1971) and journals (1973), all three ed. by A. Preston;.
  • biography by J. H. Lehmann (1964);.
  • Maxwell, L. , The Ashanti Ring (1985).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

Related Articles

Full text Article Wolseley, Garnet, Ist Viscount Wolseley: 1833-1913
Reader's Guide to British History

Soldier and army reformer Hamer W S. , The British Army: Civil-Military Relations, 1885-1905 , Oxford : Clarendon Press , 1970...

See more from Credo