Sir William Howe


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Sir William HoweHowe, WILLIAM, military officer; 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 at Quebec. Made colonel of infantry in 1764, he rose to the rank of major-general 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 colonists. The Earl of Effingham 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. After Gage's recall, it was offered to General Howe, and accepted. He was in chief command in the battle of Bunker (Breed's) Hill, 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, August 27, 1776, and for this he was soon after knighted. He took possession of New York City, September 15, and was defeated in battle at WHITE PLAINS, October 28. On November 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 George Washington in battle on Brandywine Creek, September 11, 1777, and entered Philadelphia on September 26. Howe repulsed an attack made by Washington, October 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. Howe was governor of Plymouth and a privy-councilor at the time of his death, July 12, 1814.



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