The Patriot Resource - American Revolution


British General Sir Henry Clinton
Sir Henry Clinton Born: April 16, 1732?; Newfoundland, (Canada)
Died: December 23, 1795; Cornwall, England

Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in America: 1778-1782

Battles: Bunker Hill, Fort Sullivan, Siege of Charleston



Early Life: 1732?-1775
Henry Clinton was the grandson of the 6th Earl of Lincoln. He was born while his father, Admiral George Clinton, was serving as governor of Newfoundland. In 1741, his father became the Royal Governor of New York and this was where Henry spent his formative years. He served as a Captain-Lieutenant of the local militia. He served at the fortress of Louisburg in Nova Scotia where his party was ambushed, but he narrowly escaped.

Clinton returned to England with his father in 1751 and soon was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Coldstream Guards. On April 6, 1758, he became a Lieutenant Colonel in the 1st Foot Guards. In 1760, he saw his first significant action, when he was sent to Germany to fight in the Seven Years War. He served with distinction in the brigade of guards and was chosen aide-de-camp to Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick.

On June 24, 1762, Clinton was promoted to full Colonel. He was severely wounded at Johannesburg on August 30, 1762. In 1766, he became Colonel of the 12th Regiment. In 1767 he married Harriet Carter, with whom he would have five children. On May 25, 1772, Clinton was promoted to Major General. In July 1772, he was elected to Parliament. In August of that year, his wife died eight days after the birth of their fifth child.

Clinton went into a shell of mourning and would not even take his seat in Parliament. In 1774, still depressed, Clinton journeyed to the Balkans with his friend Henry Humphrey Evans Lloyd. Lloyd was a suspicious character, who was under suspicion of being a Russian spy, but Clinton's association with him never tarnished his own reputation or brought his loyalties into question. They eventually reached the main Russian camp in Bulgaria. When Clinton returned to England in September 1774, he had finally recovered from his grief.


Revolutionary War: 1775-1776
In 1775, Maj. General Henry Clinton sailed on the Cerberus to Boston with fellow Major. Generals William Howe and John Burgoyne arriving on May 25, 1775. Not long after he arrived, Clinton proposed a plan to Lt. General Thomas Gage for occupying Dorchester Heights, which overlooked Boston and its harbor. However, Clinton presented it in a less than tactful way and the plan was not accepted by Gage. Clinton continued to distinguish himself, but also proved to have a difficult personality for his fellow officers to deal with. On June 17, 1775, at the Battle of Bunker Hill, Clinton led the final attack on the hill. Although it wss a gallant action and greatly contributed to the British victory on the day, it had gone against orders.

Even as Clinton continued to fear repercussions, in September 1775, he was given the "local" rank of Lieutenant General and made second in command to General Howe, who had succeeded General Gates as Commander-in-Chief in America. Clinton and Howe were immediately at odds.The tension between the two generals was temporarily eased when General Howe detached Clinton on January 6, 1776, to command a southern expedition to regain control of the four Southern colonies. On January 20, Clinton sailed from Boston with approximately 1,300 men. Clinton was to sail to Cape Fear, North Carolina. where he would rendezvous with a forces that had sailed Ireland and Loyalists marching from the backcountry.








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