Henry Clinton

Commanded All British Forces in America

Biography

Painting of Henry ClintonSon of a British admiral who was Governor of Newfoundland, Henry Clinton joined the New York militia at 15. He later served in Germany during the Seven Year’s War (known here as the French & Indian War). His father’s status helped Henry get elected to Parliament and gain a command. After helping to break the Siege of Boston, Clinton was sent south in 1776 to lead an ill-fated invasion of North Carolina and then Charleston. However, he bounced back with battle successes on Long Island and in New York City. Getting passed over for command of a campaign against the New York State capital turned into a good thing for him. He returned to England and offered his resignation, was refused, and King George III made him a knight to appease him. Also, the campaign was a disaster! So, Sir Henry replaced the British commander-in-chief in North America in 1778 as a lieutenant general. In that role he successfully conquered Charleston, and then from his base in New York City oversaw the southern campaign that included the invasion of North Carolina. Though blamed for losing the war, he later was named Governor of Gibraltar, only to die before he got there.

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