George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Horatio Gates, 22 August 1777

From Major General Horatio Gates

Head Quarters [Van Schaick’s Island, N.Y.]
August 22d 1777.


General Glover desires me to acquaint you, that he has never received his Commission as Brigdr General—General Poor and Genl Patterson lost their Commissions with their Baggage upon their Retreat from Mount Independance—Those Gentleman desire the Favour of Your Excellency to send each of them a Commission, as soon as they can be procured from the President of Congress.

I am just now inform’d that 900 Swords and upward of 1000 Stand of Arms, taken from the Enemy, in Genl Stark’s Engagement, are lodg’d in Benington Meeting House. I am Sir Your Excellency’s most Obedient Humble Servant

Horatio Gates


GW’s aide-de-camp Alexander Hamilton replied to Gates on 29 Aug.: “Your two favours both of the 22d came to hand yesterday. His Excellency [GW] had been all the day out reconnoitring the country, and did not return home ’till late in the evening—this morning he is again gone out upon the same business, and not having leisure to do it himself, has desired me to acknowledge the receipt of your letters.

“The signal advantages gained by Generals Stark and Herkemar over the enemy, at so gloomy and distressing a period, were events as happy as unexpected, and bid fair intirely to change the face of affairs, and frustrate all Mr Burgoines sanguine expectations. the new spring they must have given to the spirits of the country, it is to be hoped will bring you sufficient reinforcements, at least to check the further progress of the enemy and prevent their reaping the fruits of their past success.

“The General has written to Congress on the subject of the General officers’ commissions and has requested they might be dispatched by the return express.

“After hovering about the Coast for so long a time, the enemy’s fleet at last made their entrance in Chesapeak bay, and landed their whole army the 25th near the Head of Elk. Yesterday they marched from their first position and extended their van to a piece of high ground called Greys-Hill about nineteen miles from this place. How soon they will leave that on their further progress towards Philadelphia is uncertain; but it is hardly to be presumed they can have already made all the necessary prepa[ra]tions for pushing on. It is not improbable they may establish a post at Greys-Hill or at Iron Hill in front of that, in order to secure a retreat in case of accidents; and when this is done may be ready to continue their rout. As the Eastern States can be no longer under any apprehension of a visit from Mr Howe, his intentions against Philadelphia being reduced to a certainty[,] we may hope our Northern Army will now derive a decisive superiority over the enemy, from the full exertion of the whole force of those states” (DLC:GW).

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