George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Horatio Gates, 15 January 1781

Berkley County Virginia l5th January 1781

Sir,

The 2d of last month General Greene presented me your Excellency’s Letter of the 22d of October—and upon the 10th following, Capt. Hughes of the First Regt of Dragoons, delivered me that of the 8th of October from Pasaice falls—he said it was given him by one of the Staff Department who had picked it up upon the road—it had evident marks of having been opened by the way. By General Green’s letter of the 6th December Your Excellency will perceive—the Enquiry into my conduct could not be held—neither could any time be fixed for holding it—Congress will likewise receive from me, and General Greene, copies of the inclosed Letters, with Sentiments of great respect. I am Sir Your most obedient humble Servant

Horatio Gates

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

Enclosure

Head Quarters Charlotte 4th December 1780

Dear Sir

Having laid before you my Instructions from his Excellency General Washington relative to the Court of Enquiry ordered by the Honble The Congress, and being directed by him, to suspend the whole Business, if the mode should not be to your liking, before I proceed to take the Opinion of the General and other officers, respecting the practicability of holding the Court under our present Circumstances—I wish to know your sentiments on the Matter, and whether the Evidences you will want to introduce upon the Occasion, can be had in any short Time—If the mode for holding the Court is disagreeable—or you cannot command the Evidences necessary for your justification, it will supercede the necessity of taking the opinion of the Officers; therefore I wish to be satisfied on these Heads, before I take any further Steps in the Business. I am with Sentiments of Esteem and Regard, and every good Wish for your Health & Happiness Your most obedient humble Servant

Nath. Greene

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Enclosure

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Charlotte 4th December 1780

Dear Sir

The Letter you did me the honor to write this morning is now before me. Conscious throughout the whole of my Command of my having done all that was in my Power for the public good, I am anxious that the Inquiry into my conduct should immediately take place—It is true there are some Evidences I could wish were here that cannot at present be procured—but Innocence and Integrity induce me to be confident; that the Honor and Justice of the Court of Enquiry, will make every equitable Allowance for that deficiency—With every Sentiment of Regard & Esteem and every wish for your future Glory and Success, I am Dear Sir Your most obedient humble Servant

Horatio Gates

Enclosure

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Camp at Charlotte 6th December 1780

Dear Sir

Agreeable to my Instructions, I have taken the opinion of the Generals and other principal Officers of this Army upon the practicability of holding a Court of Enquiry into your Conduct during your Command in this Department. They are unanimously in the Opinion that it is not practicable agreeably to the Tenor of my Instructions, and that it would not be prudent to call the Baron Stuben from Virginia without further Information from that Quarter—and, that the Circumstances of this Army would not admit of the Enquiry’s being made, even if the Baron was here.

Your earnest desire of having the Court held, would have induced me to call the Baron to this Army, had the Officers been of opinion, that our circumstances would admit of the Enquiry being made; unless the Operations of the Enemy in Virginia had rendered his continuance there very essential—in which case I am persuaded you would neither wish, nor expect it—I flatter myself you are convinced that I am equally anxious with yourself for having the Court convened, and no less desirous of giving you an early Opportunity of justifying yourself to the World—than you are of submitting your Conduct to an impartial Enquiry—As soon as the State of this Army will admit of my convening a Court agreeable to the Tenor of my Instructions, I will give you immediate Notice thereof. I am with Esteem—your most obedt hble Servant

Nath. Greene

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