George Sackville Germain 1st Viscount Sackville

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Germain, Lord George (1716–85), formerly Sackville. After a promising early career, both as politician and army officer, Sackville was court-martialled for disobeying orders at Minden in 1759. Stripped of his rank and forbidden the court, he did not rehabilitate himself until the 1760s, eventually becoming American secretary in 1775. It was expected that Germain (as he was now called) would invigorate the war effort against the American colonies, but difficulties of slow communication militated against effective direction from Britain. Germain, moreover, never achieved complete control, since fellow cabinet members jealously guarded their own authority. A flawed strategist, he must share responsibility for the defeat at Saratoga (1777), having authorized two separate offensives, mistakenly hoping that each might succeed independently. He continued to hope, despite contrary evidence, that each fresh campaign would tap latent American loyalism, and was predisposed to favour the more ambitious Cornwallis over Commander-in-Chief Clinton. Germain's attitude exacerbated defects in the command structure during the prelude to Yorktown (1781). Despite this disastrous defeat, he opposed abandoning the war and resigned in 1782. He was created Viscount Sackville on his retirement.

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George Sackville Germain 1st Viscount Sackville