General Charles Cornwallis. By – Taniya Walker. Charles Life.
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At the beginning of the Seven Years' War - known as the French and Indian War in America - Cornwallis moved quickly to get in on the action. He returned from his studies in Turin and spent much of the war in Germany. At first, he served as a staff officer for Lord Granby, but ascended quickly to become a captain in the 85th Regiment of Foot.
After his father died he became the head of the family. The responsibility of care for his brothers and sisters fell to him. Later, he married Jemima Jones, the daughter of an untitled regimental colonel, in 1768. They had a daughter Mary and a son Charles.
Charles Cornwallis was born at Grosvenor Square, London, on New Year’s Eve in 1738. The eldest son of Charles, 1st Earl Cornwallis, and Elizabeth Townshend, he received his early education at Eton. He was eager to begin a military career, Cornwallis purchased a commission as an ensign in the 1st Foot Guards on December 8, 1757, and attended the military academy at Turin, Italy.
During he revolutionary war, Charles served under William Howe and then Sir Henry Clinton next. While second-in-command under Howe and Clinton, he won a few important battles—most significantly, perhaps, driving General Washington and his army out of New York City. Eventually he wound up in charge of the British army in the south.
General Cornwallis was a loyalist. He led British troops. General Cornwallis led several successful early campaigns during the American Revolution, securing British victories at New York, Brandywine and Camden. In 1781, as second in command to Gen. Henry Clinton, he moved his forces to Virginia, where he was defeated at the Battle of Yorktown. This American victory and Cornwallis' surrender of his troops to George Washington was the final major conflict of the American Revolution.
Charles Cornwallis received a semi-independent command in the southern states. Nominally still subordinate to Clinton, he was at such a distance from his commander and enjoyed such political favor with George Sackville Germaine (the English secretary of state for the Colonies) in London that he could conduct operations without worrying about restrictions from abovein 1780 after the siege.
General Cornwallis was a well-trained European general.