George Washington Papers

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

From Major General Horatio Gates

Albany 23rd November 1777.


I am just now honour’d with the receipt of Your Excellency’s Letter of the 14th Instant, from White Marsh. I have never entertained the smallest Idea, that General Burgoyne should be permitted to Change the port of Embarkation, or that the least variation of the Spirit, and Letter of the Convention, would be indulged to the Troops under his Command. There is no doubt, but the British Regiments upon their Arrival in England, will be Ordered to do Duty there, but The Germans cannot, by the Laws, serve in Great Britain, or Ireland.

If General Burgoyne has any Sinister design, what I suggested to Congress, in my Letter of the 10th Instant, a Copy of which I conclude Your Excellency has received, will be a good Method of delaying, if not finally preventing the Execution of his project.1

I shall write tomorrow by the Boston post, to General Glover, who is charged with the Embarkation of the Prisoners under the Convention, and send him a Copy of Your Excellency’s Letter.2 I am, Sir, Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Humble Servt

Horatio Gates

ALS, DLC:GW; ADf, NHi: Gates Papers; copy, DNA:PCC, item 154; copy, NHi: Gates Papers; copy, DNA:PCC, item 171.

1Gates’s letter to Henry Laurens, written at Albany on 10 Nov., reads in part: “It has occurr’d to me, that should Sr William Howe still Obstinately refuse to settle an equitable Cartel, for the Exchange of Prisoners, that Congress would be Justified, in Ordering the fulfilling the Convention of Saratoga to be delayed, until the United States recei⟨ved⟩ Justice in that particular—At any rate, there will be very few of Genl Burgoyne’s Soldiers to Embark, as many of the Germans, And a great many of the British, ha⟨ve⟩ deserted upon their March towards Boston, and numbers more will yet Desert” (DNA:PCC, item 154).

2The draft of Gates’s letter to Brig. Gen. John Glover of this date reads in part: “Inclosed is a Letter I received Yesterday from His Excellency G. Washington, with my Answer to Him—It is needless to say any thing further upon the Subject, his Letter, & my Answer, being full, & possitive Instructions upon that Head” (NHi: Gates Papers).

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