George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Horatio Gates, 7 July 1779

From Major General Horatio Gates

Providence [R.I.] 7th July 1779.


I had the Honour to receive Your Excellency’s Letters of the 27th & 30th Ulto, by One and the same Express. In Obedience to Your Commands contained in the Letter of the 30th, I immediately Ordered General Glover with his Brigade to March for Fish-Kill. They left Providence this Morning Early. Inclosed are the Directions I have given General Glover, with the Route by which he is to March Annexed.1 This Moment I have intelligence, which (though not Official,) I think Authentic; that Two Thousand of the Enemy Landed On Monday, and were advanced within One Mile of New Haven.2 That Your Excellency had Crossed to The West Side of Hudson’s River, and Advanced below King’s-Ferry. That Sir Harry Clinton had entirely Abandoned His late Acquisitions, and retired to New York3 These Accounts, so different from what was Expected, renders it necessary I should Order this Express to Make the Utmost Dispatch to Your Head Quarters, that You may immediately Send such further Orders as you think proper to General Glover. I am, Sir, Your Excellency’s Most Obedt servt


Copy, in Gates’s writing, NHi: Gates Papers; copy, DNA:PCC, item 154; copy, DNA:PCC, item 171.

1A draft of these orders from Gates to Brig. Gen. John Glover, written at Providence, R.I., on 5 July reads: “By Letters received last Night from His Excellency General Washington, I am directed to Order Your Brigade to March without delay, to Join the Main Army. Every necessary preparation being made, You will immediately proceed by the Route Annexed to Fish-kill; where you will receive His Excellency’s Further Commands. An Express will go directly upon your Marching to General Washington, to acquaint Him with Your being on the Way, and with a Copy of The Route Annexed. But in Order to give His Excellency the more precise information of your proceedings, you are every Three days to dispatch an Express, with an Exact Account of The Marches you have made, & intend to make; that The Commander in Chief may know where to find You every day you are upon the Road. For your more particular Guidance, and that you may be fully possessed of His Excellency’s intention in moving Your Brigade; I herewith present you an Exact Copy of His Letter to me upon that Subject. Satisfied that you will to the Utmost of your power fullfill his Excellency’s intentions, I am convinced it is quite unn[ec]essary to Add any thing further upon that Head” (Gregory and Dunnings, “Gates Papers” description begins James Gregory and Thomas Dunnings, eds. “Horatio Gates Papers, 1726–1828.” Sanford, N.C., 1979. Microfilm. description ends ). A signed draft of the annexed itinerary, which is undated and headed “Route for the March of General Glover’s Brigade from providence, to Fish-kill,” reads:

“1779 Miles
7th July From providence To Scituate [R.I.] 12
8th July from Scituate to Voluntown [Conn.] 14
9th July from [V]oluntown To Windham 18
10th Halt
11th from Wyndham to Andover 16
12th from Andover To Hartford 20
13th Halt
14th From Hartford to Farmington 10
15th from Farmington to Litchfield 20
16th from Litchfield to N[ew] Milford 12
17th Halt
18th From N. Milford to Morehouse’s [N.Y.] 14
19th from Morehouses to Vanderburgh’s 12
20th From Vanderburgh’s To Fish kill 16

(Gregory and Dunnings, “Gates Papers” description begins James Gregory and Thomas Dunnings, eds. “Horatio Gates Papers, 1726–1828.” Sanford, N.C., 1979. Microfilm. description ends ). For orders to deviate from this plan, see GW to Glover, 8 July.

2For the British raid on New Haven that began on Monday, 5 July, and initiated attacks on the Connecticut coast over the next week, see GW to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 7 July, source note, and Trumbull to GW, same date.

3GW replied to Gates on 10 July that this intelligence on movements along the Hudson River was “erronious.”

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