born is London on December 31, 1738, the eldest son of the 1st Earl Cornwallis.He
was educated at Eton College and the University of Cambridge.Later,
he also studied at the military academy in Turin, Italy.Cornwallis
received his first military commission in 1756. During the early part of the
Seven Years' War he served with the British Army in Germany. In 1760 he was
elected to the House of Commons.Two
years later, after having inherited the title Earl Cornwallis, he entered the
House of Lords and became active politically with the Whigs.He
was sympathetic to the grievances of the American colonists and voted against
the Declaratory Act in 1766.
generally opposed policies that led to the American Revolution, but in 1775 he
accepted a military command as a Major General and served with distinction.He
took part in the Battle of Long Island, New York and later in the campaigns in
New Jersey.General George
Washington at Trenton, New Jersey defeated Cornwallis' forces in December, 1776
and also at Princeton in January, 1777.He
was responsible for the British victory at Brandywine Creek, Pennsylvania in
September, 1777, and later that same month, he occupied Philadelphia.Displeased
at the failure of the two successive British commanders in chief, Sir William
Howe and Sir Henry Clinton, to be more aggressive in the war, Cornwallis tried
resignation was not accepted, but Cornwallis' plan to blockade the South was
approved.Cornwallis, in command of
the British forces in the South, achieved a great victory over General Horatio
Gates at Camden, South Carolina on August 16, 1780.After
a bloody battle at Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina in March, 1781,
Cornwallis was forced to retreat to the coast.Washington
decided to move against Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia.The
Americans aided by French troops secured the surrender of Cornwallis on October
19, 1781.This defeat was decisive
in ending the American Revolution.
the war Cornwallis returned to Great Britain and in 1786 he was appointed
governor-general and commander in chief in India.He
restored the military situation and laid the administrative foundation of
British rule in India.
Marquis in 1792, Cornwallis returned to England the next year and joined the
cabinet as master-general of ordnance in 1795.On
the outbreak of rebellion in Ireland in 1798, he was sent there as viceroy and
commander in chief.After pacifying
the country, he aided Lord Castlereagh in getting the Act of Union through the
Irish parliament.After negotiating
the Treaty of Amiens in 1802 and 1805, he was sent once again as governor
general to India where he died October 5, 1805.
August 28, 1781
The trap closes on Cornwallis, as
reported in the Pennsylvania Packet:"By
the latest accounts from Virginia, we learn that the British army. Consisting of
about five thousand men, under the command of Earl Cornwallis, still occupied
Gloucester and York Town, where they were erecting strong works, in which they
were aided by the labour of about 3000 Negroes.
Several small picarrons, from New
York, now infest our bay.They have
lately taken one of two small vessesla near the mouth of the Potomack. Lord
Dunmore, with two or three regiments and a number of refugees, it is said,
sailed from England, for Virginia, about the beginning of last June.
The Marquis de La Fayette's Head
Quarter were, a few days ago, near fuffin's ferry, on Pamonky, a branch of the
York river, in Virginia, 30 miles northward of Williams burg.At
the same time General Wayne, (with his division of troops) was at Bottom's
Bridge, about 15miles Southward of Richmond, on the Williamsburg road."
There was also great news from South
Carolina that Francis Marion, "The Swamp Fox" and General Sumter were
successful in operations against the British.
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