George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Horatio Gates, 6 October 1778

From Major General Horatio Gates

Danbury [Conn.] 6th October 17781


Your Excellencys letter of Yesterday from fish kill, came to my Hands at Nine o Clock, last Night; I shall endeavour, as You direct, to send to the West End of Long-Island, but believe the Enemy’s Design will be fully ascertain’d before the return of that intelligence; The French Fleet, & Boston, must be the Sole Objects of the British Arms upon this Continent; The Season of The Year will indeed admit only of a Sudden, & rash attempt, which Success alone will Justify; desperate Enterprizes do frequently Succeed, Witness that of 1759 against Quebeck;2 had Sir Harry Clinton meant to attack this Army, he would not have given3 so much Notice, & lost so much Time; The Enemy may leave the Continent, if they do not, The French Fleet is the prize they mean to contend for. I am Sir Your Excellencys most Obedient Servant

Horatio Gates

ALS, DLC:GW; Df, NHi: Gates Papers; copy, enclosed in GW to John Jay, 14 April 1779, owned (2006) by Mr. Joseph Rubinfine, West Palm Beach, Florida.

1The dateline on the draft includes the following additional text: “[ ] o Clock a.m.

2Gates is referring to British general James Wolfe’s successful attack on Quebec in September 1759.

3The draft includes the word “us” at this place on the draft manuscript.

Index Entries