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Clinton, Sir Henry

CLINTON, SIR HENRY (c. 1738-1795), British general, was the son of admiral George Clinton (governor of Newfoundland and subsequently of New York), and grandson of the 6th earl of Lincoln. After serving in the New York militia, he came to England and joined the Coldstream Guards. In 1758 he became captain and lieutenant-colonel in the Grenadier Guards, and in 1760-62 distinguished himself very greatly as an aide-de-camp to Ferdinand of Brunswick in the Seven Years' War. He was promoted colonel in 1762, and after the peace received the colonelcy of a regiment of foot, becoming major-general in 1772. From 1772 to 1784, thanks to the influence of his cousin, the 2nd duke of Newcastle, he had a seat in parliament, first for Boroughbridge and subsequently for Newark, but for the greater part of this time he was on active service in America in the War of Independence. He took part in the battles of Bunker Hill and Long Island, subsequently taking possession of New York. For his share in the battle of Long Island he was made a lieutenant-general and K.B. After Saratoga he succeeded Sir William Howe as commander-in-chief in North America. He had already been made a local general. He at once concentrated the British forces at New York, pursuing a policy of foraying expeditions in place of regular campaigns. In 1779 he invaded South Carolina, and in 1780 in conjunction with Admiral M. Arbuthnot won an important success in the capture of Charleston. Friction, however, was constant between him and Lord Cornwallis, his second in command, and in 1782, after the capitulation of Cornwallis at York town, he was superseded by Sir Guy Carleton. Returning to England, he published in 1783 his Narrative of the Campaign of 1781 in North America, which provoked an acrimonious reply from Lord Cornwallis. He was elected M.P. for Launceston in 1790, and in 1794 was made governor of Gibraltar, where he died on the 23rd of December 1795.

His elder son, Sir William Henry Clinton (1769-1846), entered the British army in 1784, and served in the campaigns of 1793-94 in the Low Countries. In 1796 he became aide-de-camp to the duke of York, and in 1799 he was entrusted with a mission to the Russian army in Italy, returning to the duke in time for the Dutch expedition of 1799. He was promoted colonel in 1801, and took part in the expedition which took possession of Madeira, which he governed up to 1802. His next important service was in 1807, when he went to Sweden on a military mission. Promoted major-general in 1808, he served from 1812 to 1814 in the Mediterranean and in Catalonia, and in the latter year he commanded against Marshal Suchet. He had become a lieutenant-general in 1813, and in 1815 he was made a G.C.B. He commanded the British troops in Portugal, 1826-28, and was promoted full general in 1830. He died at Cockenhatch, near Royston, Herts, on the 15th of February 1846.

The younger son, Sir Henry Clinton (1771-1829), entered the army in 1787 and saw some service with the Prussians in Holland in 1789. He served on the staff of the duke of York in 1793-94, becoming brevet-major in 1794, and lieutenant-colonel of a line regiment in 1796. In 1797-98 he was aide-de-camp to Lord Cornwallis in the Irish rebellion, and in 1799 he was sent with Lord William Bentinck to the Russian headquarters in Italy, being present at the Trebbia, at Novi, and in the fighting about the St Gotthard. During a short period of service in India Clinton distinguished himself at Laswari. He accompanied the Russian headquarters in the Austerlitz campaign, and was adjutant-general to his intimate friend, Sir John Moore, in the Corunna campaign of 1808-9. Promoted major-general in 1810, he returned to the Peninsula to fill a divisional command under Wellington in 1811. His division played a notable part in the capture of the forts at Salamanca and in the battle of Salamanca (1812), and he was given the local rank of lieutenant-general early in 1813. For his conduct at Vitoria he was made a K.B., and he took his part in the subsequent victories of the Nive, Orthes and Toulouse. At the end of the war he was made a lieutenant-general and inspector-general of infantry. Clinton commanded a division with distinction at Waterloo. He died on the 11th of December 1829.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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