Sir Garnet Wolseley: Victorian Hero
"Before leaving England he placed his finger on a map of Egypt at the point now known to fame as Tel-El-Kebir, and said 'That is where I shall beat Arabi'".
No Victorian was a greater hero for a longer period than Sir Garnet Wolseley (1833-1913). The leading British general of the second half of the nineteenth century, he personally took part in a significantly influenced every campaign between the Crimea and the Boer War. To Disraeli he was Our Only General , while to many soldiers and to the public at large he epitomised the virtues they most admired: exceptional personal bravery and an unshakeable belief in the virtues of the British Empire. The phrase All Sir Garnet was a guarantee that everything was under control. Seen from another angle, Wolseley s career reflects a number of weaknesses. To control a global empire Britain had a powerful navy but only a small army. Its ability to deploy a force of limited size throughout the world, almost always against untrained and underequipped native armies, gave the dangerous and ultimately disastrous illusion that Britain was as formidable by land as it was by sea.
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