Henry Clinton (American War of Independence)

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General Sir Henry Clinton K.B. Commander-in-Chief of British troops in America. Published between 1770 and 1780.

General Sir Henry Clinton K.B., (April 16 1730December 23 1795) was a British officer during the American War of Independence. He was born in Newfoundland, Canada where his father George Clinton served Governor, and he grew up in New York when his father served as Royal Governor there. When old enough he spent a time in the New York militia.

In 1751, Clinton went to England and was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards, becoming a captain and then lieutenant-colonel in the Grenadier Guards by 1758. From 1760 to 1762 he distinguished himself as an aide-de-camp to Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick in the Seven Years War, being promoted colonel. After the peace he received the colonelcy of a regiment of foot. In 1772 he was promoted to major-general. Thanks to the influence of his cousin, the Duke of Newcastle , he obtained had a seat in Parliament from 1772 until 1784, first for Boroughbridge and subsequently for Newark.

In 1775, Clinton sailed to America on the same ship with Major General William Howe and Brigadier John Burgoyne. He was the field commander at the Battle of Bunker Hill, and he served under General Howe's operations capturing New York City including the Battle of Long Island. For his part in the battle he was made a Lieutenant General and K.B. After Saratoga Campaign in May 1778, Clinton replaced Howe as Commander-in-Chief in America and assumed command in Philadelphia. He at once concentrated the British forces at New York, pursuing a policy of foraying expeditions in place of regular campaigns.

In 1779 he invaded South Carolina, and the following year, in conjunction with Admiral Marriot Arbuthnot, he won an important victory with the capture of Charleston. However, he had constant command difficulties with Lord Cornwallis, his second in command.

After the Battle of Yorktown and the capitulation of Cornwallis in 1782, he was superseded by Sir Guy Carleton, and returned to England. He was blamed for the loss of the colonies. Historians have since shifted more blame upon General Lord Cornwallis. He published a Narrative of the war in an attempt to clear his reputation.

In 1790 he was re-elected to Parliament, and was promoted to full General in October in 1793. The following year he was made Governor of Gibraltar, where he died in 1795.

Henry Clinton had two sons who continued the family tradition of high command:


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