This is the last of the original character designs from my webcomic The Dreamer
. I almost forgot about Sir Billy! What an injustice that would've been.
General Sir William Howe was not just a
general in the British army, but the
general. From mid 1775 (after General Gage got the boot) to 1778, General Howe was the Commander-in-Chief of the British armed forces in America. He was a front line field officer at Bunker Hill, and led three rounds of soldiers to the Rail Fence that Captain Thomas Knowlton and his 200 Connecticut men held down. At the end of the third trip, Howe was the only officer still standing. (Bloody Americans!)
Howe is an interesting choice of villain because he actually didn't hate the Americans. But they made him pretty angry after 1,000 British casualties at Bunker Hill. He had initially said that he would never fight the Americans, but when he realized how unhappy Parliament was with General Gage's performance in Massachusetts, he knew he had a chance at taking his spot as Commander-in-Chief and hoped to bring peace to the strife between the colonies and Britain. (Which he did. Replace Gage that is, not bring peace!)
His older brother "Black Dick" (or Lord Richard Howe) was the Admiral of the navy and sailed to the U.S. as a peace ambassador. The Howes' oldest brother had died a war hero in the French and Indian War and the Massachusetts Bay Colony had paid for a monument in his memory to be erected at Westminster Abbey, and neither of the younger brothers had forgotten this. Admiral Howe arrived in New York with his fleet of war ships and
his Peace Commissioner papers in hand, just after that pesky proclaimation, the Declaration of Independence, had been written. (Too little, too late!)
But, alas, the Americans had lost their appetite for peace a long time ago, and General Howe was forced to fight. His strategies changed drastically after Bunker Hill, and he never again led a full scale frontal attack on the Americans when they were "dug in." In fact, he was criticized for being lazy (and spending too much time shacked up with his mistress Betsy Loring) when in fact he was cautious--he had learned his lesson that the Americans wouldn't fight nice. And he wasn't willing to lose 1,000 men in a single battle again.
So... meet William Howe, aka "Sir Billy", military man, heavy drinker, compulsive gambler, and fearless soldier.