Lieutenant General Charles Earl Cornwallis was appointed by General Henry Clinton to lead the Southern Campaign when Clinton returned to New York.
Determined to destroy General Nathaniel Greene's army after the Battle of Cowpens, Cornwallis pursued Greene's forces, who had escaped to safety across the Dan River, in Virginia. On March 15, 1781, Cornwallis, with only around 1,900 men, engaged Green at Guilford Courthouse. Greene was forced to retreat, and Cornwallis was victorious. However, Cornwallis lost over a quarter of his men as a result of the battle.