Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis (31 December 1738 – 5 October 1805) was a British military commander and colonial governor. In the United States, he is best remembered as one of the primary British generals in the American Revolutionary War. His 1781 defeat by a combined American-French force at the Siege of Yorktown is generally considered the end of the War.
Despite his final defeat, Cornwallis still had standing with the British government. He served as Governor-General of India, where he secured a military victory that allowed Britain to expand into the southern part of the country. He was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and was instrumental in putting down the Irish Rebellion of 1798. And in 1802, he signed the Treaty of Amiens with Consul Napoleon Bonaparte of France.
Charles Cornwallis in Atlantis
The French and Spanish War
Cornwallis' first command came during the Seven Years' War. Although a mere lt. colonel with minimal experience, found himself in command the first time after Major General Edward Braddock was killed during a French ambush. Unlike many other of his peers, Cornwallis was acutely aware of his inexperience. Thus, he frequently consulted with Major Victor Radcliff, the most experienced Atlantean soldier. When Freetown was threatened, Cornwallis accepted Radcliff's proposed plan to harass the French, and then ambush them.
Unfortunately, the French did not take the bait, and held back the attack. In response, Radcliff proposed a raid into French Atlantis to distract French forces. Cornwallis agreed, staying in Freetown and holding off the French forces under Louis-Joseph de Montcalm-Gozon. When he realized that Radcliff was pressing on into Spanish Atlantis, Cornwallis sent several frigates down the Atlantean coast, rescuing Radcliff's men from the pursing Roland Kersauzon, and bringing them back to the British lines.
Reinforced, Cornwallis proposed that the English now smash Montcalm-Gozon. Radcliff launched a dusk ambush designed to destroy the French supply lines. At the suggestion of a settler named Ned the English ambushed the supplies along the Graveyard Road, cutting off Montcalm-Gozon's supplies. However, word soon arrived that Kersauzon was marching quickly back north. Determined to keep the French from linking back up Radcliff sent a group of skirmishers to meet Kersauzon while the brunt of his forces met and finally destroyed Montcalm-Gozon's forces, with Radcliff himself killing Montcalm-Gozon purely by accident.
In the meantime, Cornwallis found himself the seniormost field officer for a second time. Brigadier Daniel Endicott and his second-in-command, Colonel Harcourt, had been able to keep Freetown out of French hands. Unfortunately, Endicott was killed and Harcourt was injured, and Cornwallis stepped in to command. He and Radcliff, sensing victory, turned their full forces toward Kersauzon who was camped on the banks of Stamford Creek. After some gunfire Kersauzon's men retreated to Nouveau Redon.
Radcliff and Cornwallis began plans for a siege. Cornwallis initially suggested that the Blavet River might be dammed or otherwise cut-off from the fort. Radcliff vetoed this, noting that a spring was inside the fort proper. Cornwallis then turned to ancient history, remembering Julius Caesar's The Gallic War, specifically, the fall of Uxellodunum. Cornwallis proposed to dig beneath the Blavet and detonate sufficient gunpowder to redirect the spring water, cutting it off from the fort.
The plan proved successful--the spring vanished in Nouveau Redon, causing panic. Kersauzon ordered an attack in the hopes of moving his men to another location. Instead, his forces were badly overwhelmed. Radcliff encounter Kersauzon personally. Rather than surrender, Kersauzon was determined to die fighting. Radcliff permitted Sergeant Blaise to shoot Kersauzon dead. With Kersauzon dead, the French forces ceased fighting. Although Cornwallis and Radcliff had differing ideas about the fate of Atlantis and its place in the empire, they parted as friends. When they next met, it was on the battlefield as enemies.
Cornwallis was initially subordinate to William Howe when the Atlantean War of Independence began. However, in the second year of the war, Cornwallis became commander of British forces in Atlantis when Howe was killed during the disastrous Battle of Grigsby's Field. Cornwallis had actually realized the British's vulnerability before Victor Radcliff, now the commander of the Army of the Atlantean Assembly, successfully sprang it.
Cornwallis retreated to Cosquer and fortified it. However, after a time, he decided not to hold the town, and successfully pulled his men out and onto British ships. He then sailed for New Marseille, on the west coast. Radcliff learned of his plans, and crossed the Green Ridge Mountains to meet Cornwallis. While Cornwallis did succeed in taking New Marseille, word came that France had recognized the United States of Atlantis and declared war on Britain. With the towns of the east coast now vulnerable to the French Navy, Cornwallis and his men left New Marseilles and sailed to Hanover not long after Radcliff arrived.
Cornwallis busied himself in fortifying Hanover while Radcliff crossed back east. He did receive a minor stroke of luck when Habakkuk Biddiscombe, a prominent Atlantean soldier, defected to the British. This minor bit was off-set by rebellions in Terranova. Cornwallis had no choice but to send part of his Hanover garrison west. When Radcliff did finally attack Hanover, Cornwallis put up stiff resistence for a time, but ultimately retreated from Hanover.
At the beginning of the third year of the war, Cornwallis attempted to retake Hanover. Radcliff met Cornwallis at Redwood Hill, which went from a brief skirmish into a day long battle. Cornwallis soon gave up Redwood Hill, and retreated, ceding Hanover to the Atlanteans for the duration of the war. It was not long after that the first French forces arrived. Cornwallis's men were soon fighting those of the Marquis de La Fayette as well as Radcliff's.
Throughout the remainder of the year, Radcliff and de La Fayette harassed and pushed Cornwallis's men north. As winter approached, the two were determined to hem Cornwallis in at Croydon. Cornwallis did his level best to prevent this from happening, making a stand at Pomphret Landing, just west of Croydon. While the British had destroyed the bridges that crossed the Pomphret, the Franco-Atlanteans were able to dupe the towns defenders and successfully bridge the river. The British held the town long enough to retreat.
Not long after, Radcliff sent a letter to Cornwallis pleading for his surrender. Realizing that the Royal Navy could at a minimum keep him supplied, Cornwallis refused. This prompted Radcliff to approach de La Fayette about aid from the French navy. They agreed upon a plan to send Atlantean merchants to find the French navy (the Marquis having no idea where it was, much less how to communicate with it) in the hopes that the French could bottle up the British, cutting off all aid the Royal Navy could deliver to Croydon.. Cornwallis was unaware of this until it was too late.
The weather did tend to favor Cornwallis at times. At Garnet Pond, an Atlantean feint attack quickly fell apart thanks to the rain, and the Atlanteans were repulsed. However, Radcliff and de La Fayette tried again, and succeeded. Once again, Croydon was vulnerable.
The Siege of Croydon was a long one. The British had successfully fortified the town. Moreover, a harsh winter had slowed all progress by the Atlanteans to a stand-still. After blizzard began, Radcliff considered attacking, hoping to use the low visibility to his advantage. While de La Fayette was enthusiastic, Baron von Steuben objected, pointing out the risk was too great. In the end, Radcliff followed von Steuben's advice. This decision ultimately proved correct as French ships arrived weeks later, after the New Year. In due course, Cornwallis opted to surrender. However, when the fate of Biddiscombe's Horsed Legion, whom Cornwallis did not want to be harmed, became an issue, the British elected to take 24 hours to consider Radcliff's demands. Cornwallis met with a war council on what to do with the Horsed Legion. However, the decision was made for him: Biddiscombe's Legion fought their way out of Croydon, and the issue was rendered moot. The surrender proceeded, and the war was effectively over. Radcliff and Cornwallis were reunited once again, although under less-than-ideal circumstances. Cornwallis also made the acquaintance of the Marquis de La Fayette.
- See Inconsistencies (Atlantis)
- The United States of Atlantis, pg. 173-176.
- Ibid., pg. 172.
- Ibid., pg. 183.
- Ibid., pg. 185.
- Ibid., pg. 189.
- Ibid., pgs. 190-213.
- Ibid., pgs. 209-210.
- Ibid., pg. 215.
- Ibid., pg. 222.
- Ibid., pg. 241.
- Ibid., pg. 231.
- Ibid., pgs. 236-237.
- Ibid. pg. 245-249.
- Ibid., pgs. 259-261.
- Ibid., pgs. 269-271.
- Ibid., pgs. 307-310.
- Ibid., pg. 324-325.
- Ibid., pgs. 326-332.
- Ibid., pgs. 334-336.
- Ibid., pgs. 340-341.
- Ibid., pg. 343-349.
- Ibid., pgs. 354-364.
- Ibid., pg. 363.
- Ibid. pg. 365.
- Ibid., pg. 370.
- Ibid. pg. 372-374.
- Ibid, pg. 375.
- Ibid. pg. 416.
- Ibid., pgs. 380-384.
- Ibid., pgs. 382-387.
- Liberating Atlantis, p. 373.