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What are some facts about General Cornwallis?

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Quick Answer

Lord Charles Cornwallis, a lieutenant general of the British Army during the American Revolution, helped secure a British victory at the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse early in the war. At the conclusion of the war, Cornwallis was forced to surrender to George Washington in 1781 at the Battle of Yorktown.

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Full Answer

Between his victories and his final defeat, Cornwallis embarked on an unsuccessful military campaign in the southern colonies. After some success in South Carolina, Cornwallis's forces met fierce opposition in North Carolina and were defeated at the Battles of Kings Mountain and Cowpens. His defeats in the Southern theatre were later used by some of Cornwalllis's political enemies in England in an attempt to discredit him.

From 1786 to 1794, Cornwallis served as the governor-general and commander in chief in India, where he made significant reforms to both the British East India Company and the way the country was ruled. Several years after returning to Britain from his post in India, Cornwallis was appointed lord lieutenant and commander in chief of Ireland. Originally installed in response to a Catholic-led revolt in the country, Cornwallis was seen by some Irish elites as sympathetic towards Catholics, and in fact, he argued for the emancipation of Catholics in the country. Cornwallis died in 1805, shortly after returning to India following his reappointment as governor general.

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