James Clinton, an American soldier, the fourth son of Charles and father of De Witt Clinton, born in Ulster co., N. Y., Aug. 9,1736, died at Little Britain, Orange co., Dec. 22,1812. After receiving an excellent education, he joined the army, served in the French war as a captain under Col. Bradstreet, and distinguished himself in 1756 in the capture of Fort Frontenac, and of a sloop of war on Lake Ontario. In 1763 he commanded four regiments for the protection of the western frontiers of Ulster and Orange against the incursions of the Indians. He was appointed colonel at the outbreak of the revolutionary war, and toward the close of 1775 accompanied Montgomery to Canada. Promoted to the rank of brigadier general, he was with his brother, Gov. George Clinton, in command at Fort Clinton, on the west bank of the Hudson, when in 1777 that fort was stormed by the English; and after a gallant resistance, he escaped severely wounded with a part of the garrison across the river. In 1779 he cooperated with Gen. Sullivan in his expedition against the Iroquois. Crossing the Mohawk to Lake Otsego, one of the sources of the Susquehanna, down which he was to join Sullivan, he dammed the lake, and then by breaking the dam away produced an artificial current which carried his boats rapidly to the point of junction.
An army of Indians and tories was soon after encountered and defeated at Newtown, now Elmira. He afterward commanded at Albany, and was present at the siege of Yorktown and surrender of Cornwallis, and at the evacuation of New York by the British. After the close of the war he became commissioner to adjust the boundary between New York and Pennsylvania, delegate to the convention for adopting the federal constitution, and to that of 1801 for amending it, and member of the assembly and senate of New York.