Cornwallis is a tactical genius, a general whose battle experience and abilities are unparalleled among the “rabble” he so despises. He effectively thwarts every adversary until caught off guard due to the unexpected behavior of the militia. He is decisive and comfortable being in charge. Cornwallis measures his success on the battlefield by how many wars are won, and how many men are killed or captured—logical, proven measures. He is irritated when he’s not in charge. His own stringent rules of morality condemn Tavington’s brutality, and are offended when Gabriel refuses to hold to “the rules of war.” Yet, Cornwallis is not above pursuing things for his own personal gain – distaste for Tavington aside, he unleashes him out of a desire for revenge for the humiliation Benjamin has inflicted upon him. His emotions can be childish and petty, and his immense ego and arrogance give the militia the opportunity it needs to exploit him. He approaches new situations with the confidence (arrogance) of his past victories — reading his journals shows Benjamin that Cornwallis knows more about war than any of them, having done it in person and been successful at it and studied it extensively. This winds up becoming his sore spot, because his assumptions about the militia are based in his former experiences with them always breaking and running, because they’re being paid and not fighting out of a moral conviction. It enables Benjamin to lead his men into a trap and defeat in the field, because they chased the militia over the hill. Cornwallis also underestimates Benjamin as the Ghost, when he agrees to trade all of his captured men for 20 officers — Benjamin winds up giving him stuffed scarecrows in uniform instead. Cornwallis fears the low-Ne repercussions and social isolation he might endure in London by allowing Tavington to wreak havoc and break the sacred rules of warfare, but is also willing to change his mind and take an underhanded tactic. He expects others to behave in certain ways.

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Benjamin, after reading Cornwallis’ personal correspondence and diaries, concludes that the great general is a military genius, but his blind spot is his pride. Indeed, Cornwallis shows off his heavy focus on appearances at all times – he tells Tavington the behavior of inferior officers “reflects on ME.” He has a little tantrum that he must wear a “horse blanket” to a ball, and is angry when he realizes his wardrobe has arrived but they have not yet unloaded it from the ship. He is a high ranking general, the most esteemed man in England… he should not be wearing refitted garments! He waxes on about his memoirs, reminds people that the king gave him his Great Danes, and thinks about the legacy he will have when he inherits vast properties. He wants to be seen and treated as a “gentleman.” His 4 wing is elitist and interested in the finer things in life. It looks down on “these Colonials,” shocked that they could beat the greatest military force on earth.