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

Revolutionary War: 1776-1777
Commodore Sir Peter Parker and Lt. General Charles Cornwallis commanded the force that had left Cork, Ireland on December 1, 1775, while the Loyalist force had been coordinated by North Carolina Royal Governor Josiah Martin. The troops would then march across Cape Fear and approach Charleston, South Carolina by land, while Parker and the naval force would blockade Charleston by sea. Clinton stopped at New York on February 4 to meet with New York Royal Governor William Tryon and left on February 12. He stopped at Hampton Roads, Virginia on Febraury 17 to meet with Virginia Governor Lord Dunmore. He was delayed in departing until February 27, because of storms.

General Clinton finally reached Cape Fear on March 12, 1776. Soon, he was joined by North Carolina Royal Governor Josiah Martin and South Carolina Royal Governor William Campbell, who told him that the defeat of a Tory force on February 27, at Moore's Creek Bridge, North Carolina had all but eliminated the probably of colonial Loyalist forces giving any aid. Clinton faced another problem when he arrived at Cape Fear. Commodore Parker was not waiting for him and neither were any Tories. The first ships did not arrive until April 18 and most did not arrive for another two weeks, while the last straggler arrived on May 31, 1776. Because of the wait and the lack of Tory support, he decided to undertake a new mission. He favored moving into the Chesapeake Bay, but Commodore Peter Parker favored moving against Charleston and Clinton went along with Parker.

Commodore Parker had observed an unfinished Fort Sullivan on Sullivan's Island and thought that capturing the fort and controlling the harbor would be a simple task. The fleet left Cape Fear on May 31 and was off the coast of Charleston by the next day, June 1, 1776. It took a week to move the fleet to a position inside Charleston Bay.General Clinton chose to land his troops on the unguarded Long Island, march across it and ford at low tide to Sullivan's Island.

When General Clinton landed on June 16, he discovered the island was a swamp and the "ford" was seven feet deep at many places. On June 18, he informed Commodore Parker of his difficulties and he would only be able to render some assistance. Parker decided to attack on June 23, but winds delayed him until the 28th, when he launched what has become known as the Battle of Fort Sullivan (1st Battle of Charleston). He was thwarted by the fort's commander, Colonel William Moultrie, and forced to withdraw from the bay. Clinton had been unable to anything more than watch.

General Clinton retreated to Long Island where his men were picked up on July 21. He returned to Sandy Hook, New York, landing on July 31 and joined Maj. General William Howe's camp on Staten Island. On August 27, 1776 at the Battle of Brooklyn Heights (Long Island), Clinton's diversionary flanking march left General George Washington and the American Army trapped in Brooklyn Heights. Tension between Clinton and General Howe arose again and Howe sent Clinton to capture Newport, Rhode Island. Following Newport, Clinton had become frustrated and asked for leave, which was granted and he returned to England in the Spring of 1777. Due to tensions over the affair at Charleston, Minister to America, Lord Germain secured for Clinton a place in the Order of the Bath and knighthood as well as a promotion to Lieutenant General for his actions in New York and Rhode Island.

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