Brigadier General Charles O'Hara

O'Hara, Charles. 1740-1802.

Charles O'Hara was educated at the Westminster School and was appointed a coronet in the British army at the age of 12. He joined the Coldstream Guards four years later. He progressed through many positions and commands and went with his troops to North America in 1777.

In October 1780, O'Hara was appointed brigadier general and given command of the Brigade of Guards. O'Hara took the Brigade to serve with his friend Cornwallis in the Southern Campaign in 1780. At Guilford Courthouse, O'Hara was severely wounded as the Guards fought to a stalemate with General Nathanial Greene's Continentals.

O'Hara concurred with Cornwallis' decision to invade Virginia, but the result was surrender at Yorktown. Cornwallis directed O'Hara, his second in command, to represent the British at the surrender ceremonies. O'Hara later joined Washington and other officers at dinner.

Exchanged in 1782, O'Hara spent the next two years in Jamaica, then returned to England. After the war, his career included a term as governor of Gibralter and promotion to full general in 1798. Known in English society for his hospitality, wit, and charm, O'Hara was much in demand at parties and receptions. He died at Gibralter on February 21, 1802.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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