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American Revolution
General Charles Cornwallis



General Charles Cornwallis
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.15

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    continentals, futility, imminent, envoy, best, military, command, rank, serving, politics, commission, strategy, successful, defeat, political, education
     content words:    Charles Cornwallis, Clare College, Lieutenant Colonel, Major General, General George Washington, Long Island, New Jersey, General William Howe, George Washington, Christmas Day


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General Charles Cornwallis
By Jane Runyon
  

1     Charles Cornwallis was English through and through. He was born on the last day of 1738, the first son of the 1st Earl of Cornwallis. As the son of an earl, Charles would have the best opportunities for education and career. He was schooled at Eton and Clare College in Cambridge, England. Following family tradition, he also entered military training and received his first military commission, Ensign, before he reached his 18th birthday.
 
2     Charles chose to make the military his career. He served his country in Germany and eventually earned the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. When his father died, he inherited the title of 2nd Earl of Cornwallis. One of his responsibilities as Earl of Cornwallis was to accept a seat in the House of Lords, one of the houses of Parliament. There he became involved in the politics of the Whigs. The Whigs were a political party in England who did not particularly care for the taxes being imposed on all English citizens. Some of these citizens had moved to a new world across the Atlantic. He was sympathetic to the arguments the colonists were raising to the king.
 
3     When the colonists finally declared their independence, it became clear that a war was imminent. Charles Cornwallis was promoted to the rank of Major General and sent to take command of troops in America. He and his troops were able to defeat General George Washington and his rebel army on Long Island in August 1776. As far as the British were concerned, this was just the first victory in the few it would take to settle this uprising. Cornwallis and his troops chased the continentals into New Jersey but stopped when ordered to by his superior, General William Howe.

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