; born in England
, Aug. 10, 1729; was, by illegitimate descent, uncle of George III.
He entered the army as cornet of dragoons, and distinguished himself under Wolfe
Made colonel of infantry in 1764, he rose to the rank of
majorgeneral in 1772.
In May, 1775, he arrived at Boston
with reinforcements for General Gage
At that time there was much reluctance among British officers to serve against the American
and the eldest son of William Pitt
resigned their commissions rather than engage in the unnatural service; and General Oglethorpe
, the senior general
of the royal army, declined the proffered service of commander-in-chief of the British
army in America
's recall, it was offered to General Howe
, and accepted.
He was in chief command in the battle of Bunker
, June 17, 1775, and when forced to leave Boston
, March, 1776, went with his troops to Halifax
In August, the same year, he landed a large number of troops on Staten Island
, near New York.
With them the Americans
were defeated in battle on Long Island
, Aug. 27, 1776, and for this he was soon after knighted.
He took possession of New York City, Sept. 15, and was defeated in battle at White Plains
(q. v.), Oct. 28.
On Nov. 16 he captured Fort Washington
, on Manhattan Island
, and in July, 1777, sailed in the fleet of his brother, Admiral Howe
, for Chesapeake Bay
Marching for Philadelphia
, he defeated Washington
in battle on Brandywine Creek
, Sept. 11, 1777, and entered Philadelphia
on Sept. 26.
repulsed an attack made by Washington
, Oct. 4, at Germantown
, and spent the ensuing winter in Philadelphia
In May, 1778, he was succeeded by Sir Henry Clinton
, and returned to England
Sir William was made lieutenant-general of ordnance in 1782, and in 1786 colonel of dragoons and full general.
In 1795 he was appointed governor of Berwick
, and on the death of his brother, in 1799, succeeded to his Irish viscounty.
was governor of Plymouth
and a privy-councillor at the time of his death, July 12, 1814.