Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/282

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Gates
Gates
270

ham, 1891 , iii. 498, vii. 450). Gates entered the army -while a youth. He served in Germany under Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, and in 1750 was stationed at Halifax in Nova Scotia, where he acted as aide-de-camp to Colonel Edward Cornwallis. Through Cornwallis's influence he obtained a lieutenancy in one of the four independent companies stationed in the province of New York, attaining the rank of captain on 13 Sept. 1754. In the following year he accompanied Major-general Edward Braddock [q. v.] in his expedition against Fort Duquesne, and at Monongahela was shot through the body and long lay disabled. In July 1760 he served as brigade major under Colonel Robert Monckton [q. v.] at Fort Pitt, and in 1762 acted as his aide-de-camp at the capture of Martinique, afterwards proceeding to England as bearer of the despatches announcing its fall. On 24 April 1762 he received a majority in the 45th foot, and on 27 Oct. 1764 he exchanged into the 60th foot, and was afterwards transferred to the 79th foot, then on half pay. On 24 Sept. 1768 he was appointed to the 45th foot, then stationed in Ireland ; but on 10 March 1769 he retired from the service and returned to America. There he married and bought the estate of 'Traveller's Rest' in Berkeley county, Virginia, where he remained quietly cultivating his land until the dissensions between the English government and the colonies terminated in war. He then offered his sword to congress, and received in June 1775 the appointment of adjutant-general with the rank of brigadier. In December 1775, at a council of war, he opposed the project of attempting Boston by assault. On 16 May 1776 he was made a major-general and in June was appointed to command the part of the northern army serving in Canada, superseding Brigadier-general John Sullivan in July. On reaching Albany he learned that the Canadian army had been driven from Canada into the state of New York, which was within the military jurisdiction of Major-general Philip John Schuyler, the commander-in-chief of the northern department. He then claimed that his command was independent of Schuyler. The matter was referred to congress, and Gates was instructed to consider himself subordinate. Gates found the Canadian army utterly disorganised and suffering severely from smallpox. In consequence he abandoned Crown Point and fell back on Ticonderoga, where he began the task of reorganisation. In August he permitted Benedict Arnold [q. v.] to resume an advance northwards, but on 11 and 12 Oct. Arnold was completely defeated in a naval engagement on Lake Champlain. In consequence Gates carefully fortified his position at Ticonderoga, where the English commander, Guy Carleton (afterwards first Baron Dorchester) [q. v.], considered him too strongly posted to be attacked. He thus checked the English advance for the year, and gained considerable prestige. In 1777, in the midst of the panic due to the advance of the English force from Canada under Major-general John Burgoyne [q. v.], Schuyler was superseded, and on 3 Aug. Gates was nominated his successor in command of the northern department. During Burgoyne's advance Schuyler had continued to retreat slowly before him, contenting himself with harassing the English force and keeping it in continual alarm. Gates, on joining the army, which numbered twenty thousand men, on 19 Aug. at the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson, decided that the moment had come to make a stand. He took up a good position on Bemus Heights and strongly entrenched it, assisted by the advice of the famous Pole, Thaddeus Kosciusko, who was with the army. Burgoyne, whose communications had been cut by Arnold, felt himself compelled to attack on 19 Sept., although his force amounted only to five thousand men. The engagement of Freeman's Farm was indecisive ; but it produced bad feeling between the American commanders, Gates neglecting to mention Arnold in his despatches, although the latter claimed that he had borne the brunt of the battle. Burgoyne's failure to drive the Americans from their position rendered his position very critical, and on 7 Oct. he made a second attack, in which the issue was long doubtful, but which ended in the defeat of the English. On the next day he commenced a retreat, leaving his sick and wounded. Gates followed him closely, and surrounded him at Saratoga, where Burgoyne was forced to surrender on 17 Oct., stipulating that the act should be termed a treaty of convention, and not a capitulation. The terms of the treaty were not carried out by congress. After its conclusion Gates promptly marched to the Hudson river to stop the ravages of the English troops, who retired to New York on hearing of his approach. He did not, however, co-operate further with Washington. The surrender of Burgoyne is generally considered the most decisive event in the war of the American revolution. The relative claims of Gates, Arnold, and Schuyler to the credit of the achievement have been frequently and vehemently discussed. The services of Arnold and Schuyler were undoubtedly of great