Connell was the second son of Hugh and Flora O’Donnell of Larkfield. He travelled to Austria (where he became known as Karl) with his older brother John in 1736 to begin his military career. He gradually rose through the ranks and was appointed major-general in the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748) during which he distinguished himself in the field. He was promoted Lieutenant Field Marshal after having participated in the Battle of Lobositz (present-day Czech Republic) in 1756 at the beginning of the Seven Years War. Like his brother John, Connell played a prominent part in the victory of Kollin the following year and also won special praise at the Battle of Hochkirch (Germany) in October 1758. His greatest exploit, however, was against the Prussians at Torgau (also in Germany) in 1760 where two of his regiments put a force twice their size to flight and took the enemy commander prisoner. In recognition of his exploits, he was decorated with the Grand Cross of the Military Order of Maria Theresa. Connell was commanding officer of the Imperial troops in the Netherlands in 1762. Two years later he was elevated to the Privy Council and in 1765 became Inspector General of Cavalry. He was appointed Governor of Transylvania by the Empress Maria Theresa in 1767, but died four years later. He was unmarried. Connell was the greatest of all the O’Donnells that served in Austria. He fought in eighteen battles and gave his name – The O’Donnell Regiment – to the 5th Cuirassiers, when he became its Colonel Proprietor in 1756.