George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Horatio Gates, 23 August 1777

From Major General Horatio Gates

Head Quarters [Van Schaick’s Island, N.Y.]
23rd August 1777.


Yesterday Col. Willet arrived here with the Inclosed Papers from Major General Arnold;1 Governor Clinton being then at Head Quarters, I consulted with him upon the best Method of immediately reinforcing the General—We agreed, that Cortlands and Livingstons Regiment, then encamped with General Poor’s Brigade at Loudons Ferry, upon the Mohock River, were the readiest Corps to be sent to reinforce the Troops, intended to raise the Seige of Fort Stanwix—They accordingly march’d at Day light this Morning, under the Conduct of Lt Col. Willet, who is perfectly well acquainted with every Approach to Fort Stanwix—I shall hold a Conference Tomorrow with the Governor and Genl Lincoln at this Place, when, no Doubt, we shall unanimously agree in Sentiment with Your Excellency, to keep General Lincoln and Stark, to act upon the Flank, and Rear of the Enemy, while the main Army opposes them in Front.2 I am Sir, Your Excellency’s most Obedient, Humble Servant

Horatio Gates

LS, DLC:GW; ADfS, NHi: Gates Papers.

1The enclosures include Peter Gansevoort’s letter to James Wesson dated 19 Aug. at Fort Schuyler, the proceedings of a council of war held on 21 Aug. at Fort Dayton, German Flats, N.Y., and Benedict Arnold’s letter to Gates dated 21 Aug. at German Flats (all in DLC:GW).

Gansevoort says in his letter that the garrison at Fort Schuyler “are still in high Spirits and Determined to Defend it to the Last.” The council of war at Fort Dayton, over which Arnold presided, resolved “that an Express ought immediately to be sent to Genl Gates requesting he will immediately send such a reinforcement to us as will Enable us to March to the relief of the Fort [Schuyler], with a probability of Succeeding.” Arnold’s letter to Gates of 21 Aug. conveys the council’s request. “One thousand light Troops I believe will be Sufficient,” Arnold writes, “If it is not in your power to Spare us a reinforcement, you will please to give your positive Orders which shall be obeyed at all Events.”

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