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Henry Clinton

1738 - 1795

Sir Henry Clinton  - A Klos Family Project - revolutionary war



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Henry Clinton
British General

 

Sir Henry Clinton, British general, born in 1738; died in Gibraltar, Spain, 23 December, 1795 and was the son of George Clinton colonial governor of New York.  George Clinton was the youngest son of Francis, sixth Earl of Lincoln, and appointed commodore and governor of Newfoundland in 1732. On 21 May, 1741, he became governor of New York, and entered on the duties of the office in September, 1743. His want of skill in civil affairs peculiarly exposed him to the tumults and commotions of colonial government. In his controversies with the assembly, instigated by Chief-Justice James DeLancy, Colden, afterward lieutenant governor, was his champion with the pen, his chief opponent being Horsmanden. Clinton was succeeded, in October, 1753, by Sir Osborne, and afterward became governor of Greenwith hospital. He was vice-admiral of the red in 1745, and admiral of the fleet in 1757; became a captain of the guards in 1758, and served in Hanover during the remainder of the seven years' war.

Henry Clinton in  May, 1775, having attained the rank of major general, he was sent to Boston, along with Burgoyne and Howe. In the following winter he went on an expedition to North Carolina to co-operate with the loyalists there and redeem the colony for the king. Sir Peter Parker, with the fleet and re-enforcements from Ireland, was to join him there, but was detained by contrary winds and did not reach the American coast till 3lay. The overwhelming defeat of the Tories at Moore's Creek in February made Clinton think it unsafe to land in North Carolina. He cruised up and down the coast until Parker's arrival, and it was then decided to go south and capture Charleston. On 28 June they attacked Fort Moultrie, in Charleston harbor, and were totally defeated.

Clinton then sailed for New York and took part in General Howe's campaigns from the battle of Long Island to the capture of Philadelphia. When Howe sailed for Chesapeake bay in the summer of 1777, Clinton was left in command of New York. About this time he was made K.C.B. In September he stormed Forts Clinton and Montgomery, on the Hudson river, and sent a force to relieve Burgoyne at Saratoga, but too late to be of any avail. On Sir William Howe's resignation, 14 April, 1778, Clinton was appointed commander-in-chief of his majesty's forces in America, with the rank of lieutenant-general.

In June he evacuated Philadelphia, and on his retreat through New Jersey fought an indecisive battle with Washington at Monmouth Court-House. In December, 1779, he set sail for South Carolina, taking Lord Cornwallis with him, and leaving General Knyphausen in command of New York. In the spring he invested Charleston, and on 12 May succeeded in capturing that City, together with the whole southern army of 6,000 men under General Lincoln. This was one of the heaviest blows dealt to the Americans during the revolutionary war, and it may well have consoled Sir Henry Clinton for his humiliating defeat before Charleston in 1776.

Leaving Cornwallis  in command at the south, Sir Henry returned to New York, and during the summer matured, in concert with Benedict Arnold, the famous scheme for the treasonable surrender of West Point. He accomplished nothing more of a military nature, as his army in New York was held in virtual blockade by Washington. In October, 1781, Sir Henry set sail for Chesapeake bay with a large naval and military force, to relieve Lord Cornwallis, but did not arrive in the neighborhood until after the surrender; on hearing of which, without landing, he returned to New York. He was soon afterward superseded by Sir Guy Carleton, and returned to England in June, 1782. He was elected to parliament, and afterward made governor of Limerick. In 1793 he was appointed to the command of Gibraltar. He wrote "A Narrative of the Campaign in 1781 in North America" (London, 1783; reprinted, Philadelphia, 1865); a rejoinder to Lord Cornwallis's " Observations" on the aforesaid ; and "Observations on Stedman's History of the American War" (London, 1794).

 

 

 

 

 

 


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