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

Henry Clinton was born in Newfoundland, Canada where his father was Royal Governor. He then grew up in New York, where his father served as Royal Governor. In 1751, he returned to England with his father and soon gained a commission in the British Army. He saw his first action in Germany in 1760, eventually becoming the aide-de-camp to Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick. In 1762, he was promoted to colonel in June and wounded at Johannesburg in August. In 1767 he married Harriet Carter, with whom he would have five children.

In May 1772, Clinton was promoted to Major General. In July, he was elected to Parliament and in August, his wife died. He went into mourning and retreated from his duties. In 1774, he journeyed to the Balkans with a friend. When he returned to England in September, his grieving was over. In 1775, Clinton sailed to America on the same ship with fellow Maj. Generals William Howe and John Burgoyne. He was the field commander at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

In January 1776, he sailed south in a failed effort to capture Charleston, South Carolina. Upon his return north, starting with the Battle of Brooklyn Heights, he served ably in General Howe's operations capturing New York City. That winter, General Howe sent Clinton to capture Newport, Rhode Island after which he sailed to England on leave.. In 1777, he was knighted and promoted to Lieutenant General. He returned to New York City in July 1777, and later that same month, Howe left him in command of New York. In October 1777, he began to move north in an effort to reinforce Maj. General John Burgoyne, but turned back because of Burgoyne's defeat.

In March 1778, Clinton replaced Howe as Commander-in-Chief in America and assumed command in Philadelphia in May. Shortly after, he began retreating through New Jersey back to New York. General George Washington nearly secured a victory over Clinton at the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse on June 28th. Clinton remained in New York until December 1779 during which time he had submitted his resignation after General Cornwallis had returned from England with no reinforcements, but with new honors and promotion. Clinton's resignation would eventually be declined.

In December 1779, he launched an expedition to capture Charleston. After Charleston's surrender in May 1780, Clinton turned over command to Lt. General Charles Cornwallis and returned to New York where he would remain until the end of the war. In October 1781, he sailed south with a relief force, but it was too late. General Cornwallis had surrendered Yorktown. Returning to England in 1782, he was blamed for the loss of the colonies. He fought to clear his name including publishing his Narrative of the war. He eventually was re-elected to Parliament, promoted to full General and given a Governorship.

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