union-jack                                Charles Cornwallis (1738-1805)  

charles cornwallisThe eldest son of an earl, Charles Cornwallis was born in London and attended Eton and Cambridge. He entered military service at 19 and fought in several major battles in Germany during the Seven Year’s War. A Whig with strong sympathies for the American colonists, he voted against the Stamp Act (1765) and generally opposed the punitive measures that would lead to the Revolution. Even so, he was quick to serve the British cause at the outbreak of the fighting and would play an important role in many of the major battles of the war. Laying siege to Charleston in 1779, he and General Clinton succeeded in securing a southern base of operations, but quarrels between the two would lead to bad relations when Clinton returned north, an issue that would play a part in Cornwallis’ ultimate defeat at Yorktown.

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