Skip to main content
Select Source:

Gates, Horatio

Gates, Horatio (1727/8–1806), Revolutionary War general.Born in Old Malden, Surrey, to an unlettered English customs official and the housekeeper of the duke of Bolton's mistress, Gates was commissioned a British army lieutenant in 1745, through Bolton's influence. In the French and Indian War, after being wounded at Monongahela in 1755, he rose to the rank of major, but eventually barred from further advancement, he retired in 1769. Living in Virginia at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Gates was appointed adjutant general by the Continental Congress, and he helped George Washington organize the Continental army. Popular with New Englanders, he replaced Philip Schuyler as commander of the northern army after the loss of Fort Ticonderoga. At the two battles of Saratoga, he employed his numerical superiority to force the surrender of British Gen. John Burgoyne's entire army on 17 October 1777.

Gates planned to follow up by invading Canada, but Washington blocked the expedition. A hero after Saratoga, Gates became Washington's rival, but in 1778 was discredited on the spurious charge that he had plotted with the “Conway cabal” to elevate himself over Washington. Assigned to command the Continentals in South Carolina in 1780, he undertook a rash offensive with ill‐prepared troops and was disastrously defeated at the Battle of Camden by Gen. Charles Cornwallis. In 1783, he was associated with, but took no active part in, the officers’ aborted Newburgh “conspiracy” to coerce Congress into giving them backpay. A novel combination of professional and populist, Gates managed short‐term militia unusually well, and was a generally competent, if ultimately flawed, commander.

Bibliography

Paul David Nelson , General Horatio Gates, 1976.
Max M. Mintz , The Generals of Saratoga: John Burgoyne and Horatio Gates, 1990.

Max. M. Mintz

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Gates, Horatio." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gates, Horatio." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gates-horatio

"Gates, Horatio." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved June 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gates-horatio

Gates, Horatio

Horatio Gates, c.1727–1806, American Revolutionary general, b. Maldon, Essex, England. Entering the British army at an early age, he fought in America in the French and Indian War and served in the expedition against Martinique. Later he resigned from the army, and returned to America (1772) to settle in what is now West Virginia. At the start of the American Revolution, he joined the colonial cause as a general and played a part in training American troops outside Boston. In 1776, Gates was given a command in the north under the supreme command of Philip J. Schuyler, whom he replaced as commander in the Saratoga campaign (1777). His army overwhelmingly defeated the British under General Burgoyne, and the Continental Congress appointed Gates president of the board of war. His great victory was aided by the superb leadership of his generals Benedict Arnold and Daniel Morgan. At the time Gates was considered a serious rival of General Washington, and the aim of the so-called Conway Cabal was to make Gates commander in chief. Gates's part in this unsuccessful plan has never been fully determined. In June, 1780, he was ordered south to command in the Carolinas. In the Carolina campaign poorly organized supply, badly trained troops, and hasty planning paved the way for a disgraceful defeat at Camden (1780). He was plunged into deep disgrace and was superseded by Nathanael Greene. An official investigation of the affair was ordered but never took place, and Gates rejoined (1782) the army. He returned home the following year. Gates later freed his slaves and moved to New York, where he spent the rest of his life.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Gates, Horatio." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gates, Horatio." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gates-horatio

"Gates, Horatio." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved June 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gates-horatio

Gates, Horatio

Gates, Horatio (1727–1806) American general, b. England. He served in the British Army under General Braddock in the French and Indian Wars before emigrating to Virginia in 1772, and joining the colonists' cause in the American Revolution. In 1776, Gates became commander of the army in the north and defeated the British at Saratoga (1777). He lost his command after the defeat at Camden, South Carolina (1780).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Gates, Horatio." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gates, Horatio." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gates-horatio

"Gates, Horatio." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved June 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gates-horatio