George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Horatio Gates, 30 September 1778

From Major General Horatio Gates

Danbury [Conn.] Septr 30th 1778


I am this moment honoured with the receipt of Your Excellency’s Letter of to day’s date.1

I am sorry for the disgrace we have suffered in the Jerseys; but imagine the Enemy take advantage of the Supineness that constantly seizes our people, when they have been long unmolested. This is an evil, that even the best Officers cannot remedy.

General McDougall’s Division will be put upon the March immediately, as Your Excellency has Commanded.

Your Excellency will excuse me, when I say, I like not the divided State of your Army; The Enemy are upon the Qui Vive;2 they have the Advantage of a River, to Navigate upon each of our Flanks: To divide, is to Conquer, in politicks; I hope it may not, with regard to us, prove so in War.

I hope Lord stirling, and General Maxwell, will answer all Your Excellency’s expectations in the Jerseys; they, certainly, are best acquainted with that Country.

Inclosed is a Letter I have this moment received from Majr Talmadge, Your Excellency will please to Order Colo. pettit to Supply the Necessary Articles.3 I am, Sir, Your Excellency’s Most Obedt & hume Servt

Horatio Gates

LS, DLC:GW; ADf, NHi: Gates Papers; copy (extract), enclosed in GW to John Jay, 14 April 1779, owned (2006) by Mr. Joseph Rubinfine, West Palm Beach, Florida. The extract that was sent to Jay consists of all of the letter except the last paragraph and the closing.

1The draft reads: “of Your Excellency’s Order by Lt. Col. Hamilton, of to days date.”

2Gates means that the British are on the alert.

3The enclosed letter that Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge wrote to Gates on 29 Sept. from Bedford, N.Y., reads: “Thro’ Scarcity of forage & extreme hard duty we have so reduced a number of horses belonging to the Regt that they will never be of any further Service to the Regt; & as they are only a nuisance & needless expence to the Publick in their present destination, I am directed to turn them in to the Q. Masters Departmt, as many of them with a little attendance will be very serviceable in the Waggons. As we have a Waggon going to Danbury have sent the horses on to some Q. M. at that place.

“Am furthermore to beg that 2 or 3 boxes or more of horse shoes, nails &c., may be sent on for the use of the Regt as many horses are unfit for service merely for the want of Shoes. The distance of the Q. M. Genl makes it necessary to send to Danbury for horse Shoes—&c. &c.

“I am just informed that a Detachmt of the Enemy, the night before last, crossed the N. River below Terry Town, proceeded down towards Hackensack & took the most of Colo. Baylor’s Regt L. D. Prisoners. I wish that this Report may not be too true.

“The B[ritish] Horse, we are informed have actually imbarked, with some other Troops” (DLC:GW).

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