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Contribution to the revolutionary war
Cornwallis saw action in most of the major campaigns of the War for Independence. He served with William Howe on Long Island in the late summer of 1776, then assisted in the pursuit of George Washington across New Jersey. He also was present at the American victories at Trenton and Princeton, and in September 1777 the British triumph at Brandywine
In 1778, Cornwallis was named second in command under Clinton and in 1780 assisted in the opening of a renewed effort in the American South. He won an important victory at Camden over Horatio Gates in June 1780, but was forced to retreat after Guilford Court House in March 1781. His army marched north through North Carolina and into Virginia, where the forces of Washington and the French fleet compelled his surrender at Yorktown in October 1781.

In 1798, Cornwallis became viceroy and commander-in-chief in Ireland. He won some measure of respect from both Roman Catholics and Protestants for his sincerity and dedication. Other contributions included quelling a rebellion in 1798 and thwarting a French invasion. He supported the Act of Union in 1801, which joined the British and Irish in Parliament, but resigned when the king failed to guarantee political rights for Catholics.