Howe, William Howe, 5th Viscount

Howe, William Howe, 5th Viscount,

1729–1814, English general in the American Revolution; younger brother of Admiral Richard Howe. He took up a military career, and in the last of 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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 served with distinction at the capture of Louisburg and in the fight for Quebec (1759). He took part in the Havana expedition of 1762. In 1775 he arrived at Boston with British reinforcements for Gen. Thomas Gage, and he was a commander in the battle of Bunker Hill. He was knighted and succeeded (Oct., 1775) Gage as commander in chief in the colonies (the command in Canada being given to Gen. Guy Carleton). In 1776 he withdrew his men from besieged Boston to Halifax, then (May, 1776) went with his brother Richard to Staten Island. After negotiations for a peaceful settlement failed, Howe led his troops in the successful battle of Long Island, captured New York City, and defeated the Continental Army at White Plains. Although he gained control over SE New York and much of New Jersey, Howe missed several opportunities to capture George Washington's army. In 1777 he did not take the part planned for him in the British strategy in 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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. Instead he launched a successful drive for Philadelphia, defeating Washington in the battle of BrandywineBrandywine, battle of,
in the American Revolution, fought Sept. 11, 1777, along Brandywine Creek. The creek, formed by two small branches in SE Pennsylvania, flows southeast to join, near Wilmington, Del., the Christina River, which empties into the Delaware.
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. He later repelled an attack on GermantownGermantown,
residential section of NW Philadelphia. Settled by Dutch and Germans in 1683, Germantown became one of the earliest printing and publishing centers in the country.
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 and held his position in Philadelphia, but again, as at New York, he did not wipe out the Continental forces. Charging that he was not properly supported by the home government, he resigned and in 1778 returned to England. His command in America was taken over by Sir Henry ClintonClinton, Sir Henry,
1738?–1795, British general in the American Revolution, b. Newfoundland; son of George Clinton (1686?–1761). He was an officer in the New York militia and then in the Coldstream Guards.
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. On his brother's death in 1799, Howe succeeded to the Irish title, becoming 5th Viscount Howe.


See biography by B. Partridge (1932); T. S. Anderson, The Command of the Howe Brothers during the American Revolution (1936, repr. 1971); I. D. Gruber, The Howe Brothers and the American Revolution (1972).