Sir Henry Clinton

Not a Happy Camper.
Governor of Gibraltar
Portrait Year
Portrait Age

Led a small force of British against the retreating Americans at the battle of Bunker Hill, which was won but with great loss of life. He also led a small fleet to the Carolinas, where he was defeated at the battle of Charleston. Early on he was blamed for contributing to the loss of the colonies. Historians have since shifted more blame upon General Cornwallis.

Clinton was the last commander of British forces in North America, returning to England in 1781. He was elected to Parliament in 1790, and was promoted to full General in October in 1793. The following year, he was made Governor of Gibraltar, but he died in England before assuming command.

Despite a steadfast and honorable career in the military service serving the crown, Sir Henry Clinton was not popular with the War Office or with Lord Germaine, the inept Secretary for the colonies. Evidently his lack of winning personality or inability to grasp opportunities for advancement brought him few supporters. He was made to look bad in the campaigns. The orders he received would have defeated the ablest officers. After the disaster at Yorktown, he was left to clean up the mess and to see to disengagement from the last stages of the combat. He felt shunted aside by less seasoned officers. His disgruntlement was very evident, adding to his unpopularity.

He resigned in May 1781 and returned to England to write his memoirs castigating the responsible parties. He was elevated to full General, made Governor of Gibraltar and died.