Horatio Gates - Encyclopedia




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HORATIO GATES (1728-1806), American general, was born at Maldon in Essex, England, in 1728. He entered the English army at an early age, and was rapidly promoted. He accompanied General Braddock in his disastrous expedition against Fort Duquesne in 1755, and was severely wounded in the battle of July 9; and he saw other active service in the Seven Years' War. After the peace of 1763 he purchased an estate in Virginia, where he lived till the outbreak of the War of Independence in 1 775, when he was named by Congress adjutant-general. In 1776 he was appointed to command the troops which had lately retreated from Canada, and in August 1777, as a result of a successful intrigue, was appointed to supersede General Philip Schuyler in command of the Northern Department. In the two battles of Saratoga his army defeated General Burgoyne, who, on the 17th of October, was forced to surrender his whole army. This success was, however, largely due to the previous manoeuvres of Schuyler and to Gates's subordinate officers. The intrigues of the Conway Cabal to have Washington superseded by Gates completely failed, but Gates was president for a time of the Board of War, and in 1780 was placed in chief command in the South. He was totally defeated at Camden, S.C., by Cornwallis on the r7th of August 1780, and in December was superseded by Greene, though an investigation into his conduct terminated in acquittal (1782). He then retired to his Virginian estate, whence he removed to New York in 1790, after emancipating his slaves and providing for those who needed assistance. He died in New York on the 10th of April 1806.

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