Clinton, Sir Henry


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Clinton, Sir Henry,

1738?–1795, British general in the American Revolution, b. Newfoundland; son of George ClintonClinton, George,
c.1686–1761, colonial governor of New York (1743–53), b. England; father of Sir Henry Clinton. He entered (1708) the British navy and rose to the rank of admiral in 1747.
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 (1686?–1761). He was an officer in the New York militia and then in the Coldstream Guards. He had distinguished himself in America by service in the French and Indian WarsFrench and Indian Wars,
1689–1763, the name given by American historians to the North American colonial wars between Great Britain and France in the late 17th and the 18th cent.
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 long before he arrived in Boston in 1775 with the reinforcements for Gov. Thomas GageGage, Thomas,
1721–87, English general in North America. He came to America (1754) with Gen. Edward Braddock and took part in the ill-fated expedition against Fort Duquesne (1755).
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.

Clinton took part in the battle of Bunker Hill (1775), commanded (1776) an unsuccessful expedition against Charleston, S.C., and served under Sir William HoweHowe, William Howe, 5th Viscount,
1729–1814, English general in the American Revolution; younger brother of Admiral Richard Howe.
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 in the battle of Long Island, in the occupation of New York, and at White Plains. In 1777 he headed the British occupation of Rhode Island. When Howe moved on Philadelphia, Clinton assumed the command of New York. He did not fulfill the part expected of the New York command in the British strategy that resulted in defeat with the Saratoga campaignSaratoga campaign,
June–Oct., 1777, of the American Revolution. Lord George Germain and John Burgoyne were the chief authors of a plan to end the American Revolution by splitting the colonies along the Hudson River.
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; he advanced up the Hudson valley, capturing the patriot strongholds of Fort Clinton (strongly defended by James Clinton) and Fort Montgomery, but after burning Kingston he turned back.

Sir Henry (knighted 1777) succeeded Howe in the supreme command in America in 1778. Acting on orders from London, he evacuated Philadelphia and, after Washington's attempt to halt him failed (see Monmouth, battle ofMonmouth, battle of,
in the American Revolution, fought June 28, 1778, near the village of Monmouth Courthouse (now Freehold, N.J.). Gen. George Washington chose this location to attack the British troops, who were retreating from Philadelphia to New York City. Gen.
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), he reached New York. He complained that Lord George GermainGermain, George Sackville, 1st Viscount Sackville
, 1716–85, British soldier and statesman. He was known as Lord George Sackville until 1770, when under the terms of a will he took the name Germain.
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 did not answer his requests for supplies and twice tried to resign. In Dec., 1779, he left Baron KnyphausenKnyphausen, Wilhelm, Baron von
, 1716–1800, German general in British service in the American Revolution. He served in the army of Frederick the Great before coming to America with the Hessian troops in 1776.
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 in command in New York and redeemed his failure of 1776 by capturing Charleston (1780). After placing CornwallisCornwallis, Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess
, 1738–1805, English general and statesman. He was commissioned an ensign in the British army in 1756 and saw service in Europe in the Seven Years War.
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 in command in the Carolinas, he returned to New York. In 1781, expecting Washington to attack, he remained in New York too long and failed to aid Cornwallis in the Yorktown campaignYorktown campaign,
1781, the closing military operations of the American Revolution. After his unsuccessful Carolina campaign General Cornwallis moved into Virginia to join British forces there.
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. He resigned and was succeeded by Sir Guy CarletonCarleton, Guy, 1st Baron Dorchester,
1724–1808, governor of Quebec and British commander during the American Revolution.
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.

Clinton later served (1794–95) governor of Gibraltar. He recorded his campaigns from 1775 to 1782 (published in 1954 as The American Rebellion, ed. by W. B. Willcox). Cornwallis criticized his account, and the controversy between the two continued until Clinton's death.

Bibliography

See W. B. Willcox, Portrait of a General (1964).