Lord Charles Cornwallis (1738-1805) was an English general who fought in the Seven Years' War and served as a member of Parliament, where he opposed the imposition of duties that proved highly controversial in the colonies. Nonetheless, Cornwallis served England in the Revolutionary War and was sent back to the colonies in 1776 to serve as a lieutenant-general of British forces.
Cornwallis served under Gen. William Howe at the battle of Long Island (when the British took New York in 1776), in the New Jersey campaigns, and at British victory in the battle of Brandywine. He then became second in command to Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander in America, in 1778. While directing the southern theater after 1778, Cornwallis became mired in battling the colonists in the Carolinas and fell victim to a 1781 siege at Yorktown, where he surrendered his force of about 7,200 to the united French and American forces opposing him. Cornwallis was not held personally responsible for the defeat—which was the last major conflict of the Revolution—and in 1786 he became governor-general of India.