Biography of William Howe


Howe, Sir William (1729-1814), a British military officer, was the younger brother of Richard Howe. At the age of seventeen he saw service in Flanders. He fought during the last French and Indian War, and succeeded General Gage as commander of the British army in America. Before the opening of the American Revolution, Sir William had returned to England, where he served in Parliament. Three years before the Revolution, he was made major-general, and in 1775 was sent to the relief of Gage at Boston. His first engagement after the Revolutionary War began was the Battle of Bunker Hill; it was after this battle that he was chosen to succeed Gage. He commanded successfully at the battles of Long Island, White Plains and Brandywine, but could not realize his hope - the crushing of the Revolution. He was succeeded by Sir Henry Clinton in 1778, and though his activities after his occupation of Philadelphia led to an investigation, he was not reproved. After his return to England, Sir William was made full General.