Charles Cornwallis, first Marquis and second Earl Cornwallis, a British general, born Dec. 31, 1738, died at Ghazepore, India, Oct. 5, 1805. He was educated at Eton and Cambridge, served in the seven years' war under Lord Granby, and succeeded to the peerage in 1762. An aide-de-camp and favorite of the king, he was made governor of the tower in 1770, but he nevertheless opposed the measures which led to the American war. His regiment, however, being ordered to the scene of war in 1776, he served with activity, at first as major general under Howe and Clinton in the Jersey campaigns, afterward in the expedition to the Chesapeake, and commanded the detachment which took possession of Philadelphia, Sept. 24, 1777. He was engaged in the siege of Charleston in 1780, and after its capture was left with about 4,000 troops in command of South Carolina. Here he gained a victory over Gen. Gates at Camden, Aug. 16, 1780, and a second less decided over Gen. Greene, at Guilford, March 15, 1781. But, unable to hold the country, he entered Virginia in the course of the sprjng, where, although superior to any opposing force, he could obtain no decided advantage. At length, unable to extricate himself by sea, owing to the superiority of the French fleet, he shut himself up in Yorktown behind strong intrenchments.

Here he was surrounded and besieged by the American and French armies and the French fleet, and obliged to surrender with his whole force, Oct. 19, 1781. This was virtually the end of the war, and soon led to that change of the English ministry which brought about the peace, and the recognition of American independence. He served again in 1784-'5 as governor of the tower, and in 1786 was appointed governor general and commander-in-chief of Bengal. Soon after his arrival the English power became engaged in a conflict with Tippoo Sahib, in which its existence was at stake. He took the field in person in 1790, penetrated Tippoo's dominions, and won a series of victories by which the British authority in India was finally established. The war was brought to a close in two campaigns, in which the power of the sultans of Mysore was broken, and a treaty made by which, in order to save the capital city Seringapatam, half of their dominions was surrendered to the British. In 1793 Lord Cornwallis returned to England, and in 1798 was made lord lieutenant of Ireland, then in a very distracted state.

He restored tranquillity, and repressed the excesses of the Orange party, acquiring the good will of the Irish. As minister plenipotentiary to France he signed the peace of Amiens in 1802, and having been again appointed governor general in the service of the East India company, whose affairs had fallen into disorder, he arrived in Calcutta in August, 1805, and was soon attacked by the disease of which he died. His correspondence, edited by Ross, has been published (3 vols., London, 1859).