; born in Maldon, England
, in 1728; was a godson of Horace Walpole
; entered the British
army in his youth, and rose rapidly to the rank of major; came to America
; was severely wounded at Braddock
's defeat (1755); and was aide to General Monckton
in the expedition against Martinique
After the peace he bought an estate in Virginia
, and when the Revolutionary War
broke out Congress appointed him (June, 1775) adjutant-general
of the Continental
army, with the rank of brigadier-general.
In 1776-77 he was twice in command of the Northern
army, having, through intrigue, displaced General Schuyler
He gained undeserved honors as commander of the troops that defeated and captured Burgoyne
and his army in the fall of 1777.
He soon afterwards intrigued for the position of Washington
as commander-inchief, using his power as president of the board of war for the purpose, but ignominously failed.
In June, 1780, he was
made commander of the Southern Department, but made a disastrous campaign, his army being utterly defeated and routed by Cornwallis near Camden, S. C.
, in August, 1780.
This defeat terminated Gates
's military career.
He was removed from command and suspended from service, but was finally vindicated, and reinstated in command in 1782.
He retired to his estate in Virginia
, and in 1790 made his residence in New York City, having first emancipated all his slaves, and provided for such of them as could not take care of themselves.
He was presented with the freedom of the city of New York
, and elected to the State legislature, but declined to serve.
He died in New York City, April 10, 1806.