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Guide to the Horatio Gates papers, 1726-1828 (bulk 1774-1780) MS 240

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Julia Lipkins

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on July 21, 2015 using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

 
Creator: Gates, Horatio, 1728-1806
Title: Horatio Gates papers
Dates: 1726-1828 (bulk 1774-1780)
Abstract: The collection documents the military career of Horatio Gates (1728-1806). Gates served as a lieutenant in the British military (1749-1769) and as a general in the Continental Army during the American Revolution (1774-1783). The collection includes extensive correspondence with British and American military figures, merchants and politicians, including Benedict Arnold, John Burgoyne, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and others. The collection also contains the Articles of Convention, which defined the terms of British surrender at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777.
Quantity: 23.0 Linear feet (40 boxes, 8 volumes, 20 microfilm reels)
Call Phrase: MS 240

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Biographical note

Horatio Gates (1728-1806) served as a lieutenant in the British military (1749-1769) and as a general in the Continental Army during the American Revolution (1774-1783).


Chronology
1728 - Born at Maldon, Essex, England
1749 - Served with British military in Nova Scotia
1754 - Married Elizabeth Phillips of Halifax, Nova Scotia
1758 - Birth of only child, Robert
1761 - Served with Robert Monckton on military expedition in Martinique
1763 - Returned to England
1769 - Resigned from British Military service due to lack of career prospects
1772 - Relocated to Virginia
1774 - Served as Lieutenant Colonel in Virginia Militia
1775 - Appointed Brigadier General of the Continental Army
1776 - Appointed Major General and led expedition to Ticonderoga
1777 - Appointed to command Northern Department
1777 - Articles of Convention signed by Burgoyne and Gates after Battle of Saratoga
1777 - Implicated in “Conway Cabal”
1778 - Appointed to command Eastern Department
1780 - Appointed to command Southern Department
1780 - Defeated at Battle of Camden, South Carolina
1780 - Death of son, Robert
1780 - Congressional Court of Inquiry for failures at Battle of Camden
1780 - Returned to Virginia
1782 - Served with Continental Army in Newburgh, New York
1783 - Death of wife, Elizabeth
1783 - Retired from military service
1786 - Married Mary Vallance of Washington County, Virginia
1790 - Retired to Rose Hill Farm, New York
1800 - Served in New York legislature
1806 - Died at Rose Hill Farm, buried at Trinity Church in New York City

For a more comprehensive biography, see the following books available in the library:

The generals of Saratoga: John Burgoyne & Horatio Gates.

General Horatio Gates: a biography.

Horatio Gates & Benedict Arnold, American military commanders.

Horatio Gates: defender of American liberties.

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Scope and Contents note

The collection documents Horatio Gates' military career. The papers include extensive correspondence with British and American military figures, merchants and politicians, e.g. Benedict Arnold, John Burgoyne, Ezekiel Cornell, Richard Curson, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, Henry Laurens, Robert Monckton, Philip Schuyler, Jonathan Trumbull, George Washington and others. The collection contains the Articles of Convention, which defined the terms of British surrender at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. The collection also contains an exchange of letters between Marquis de Lafayette and Baron von Steuben, as well as drafts of Gates’ speeches to Native American leaders. Also included are financial documents, account books, cashbooks, orderly books and Gates’ journal, which details a British expedition to Nova Scotia in 1750. In addition to his military career, a glimpse of Gates’ personal life can be seen in correspondence with family members, including his first and second wives, Elizabeth and Mary, and his son, Robert.

Arrangement note

The microfilm edition of the Horatio Gates papers is arranged in 3 series:

Series 1: Correspondence, 1726-1828, n.d.
Series 2: Orderly Books and Returns, 1756-1783
Series 3: Financial Papers, 1747-1799

Transcripts for many of the items are microfilmed in the frame immediately following the original document.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Arnold, Benedict, 1741-1801
  • Burgoyne, John, 1722-1792
  • Cornell, Ezekiel, 1733-1800
  • Curson, Richard, 1724 or 1725-1805
  • Gates, Elizabeth Phillips
  • Gates, Mary Vallance
  • Hancock, John, 1737-1793
  • Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, marquis de, 1757-1834
  • Laurens, Henry, 1724-1792
  • Monckton, Robert, 1726-1782
  • Schuyler, Philip John, 1733-1804
  • Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin, Baron von, 1730-1794
  • Trumbull, Jonathan, 1740-1809
  • Washington, George, 1732-1799

Document Type

  • Account books
  • Cashbooks
  • Correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Financial records
  • Letter books
  • Orders (military records)
  • Treaties

Subject Topics

  • Burgoyne's Invasion, 1777
  • Saratoga Campaign, N.Y., 1777

Subject Places

  • North America--History--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
  • United States--History--French and Indian War, 1755-1763
  • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783

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Administrative Information

Provenance note

Horatio Gates’ wife, Mary Vallance Gates, died in 1810. In the wake of her death, Joel Barlow inherited the papers of Horatio Gates. Barlow, a poet and politician, had intended to write a history of the American Revolution. However in 1811, President James Madison sent Barlow on a diplomatic mission to France. Robert Fulton, a friend of Barlow’s, received the Gates papers on Barlow’s behalf. Barlow died in Poland in 1813 and his work on the American Revolution was never completed. In 1814, Barlow’s wife donated the Gates papers to the New-York Historical Society (N-YHS). At the time, the papers were stored in a trunk in Fulton’s home. The papers arrived at N-YHS in 1816 and were arranged by John Pintard, a founder of N-YHS.

Conditions Governing Access note

Open to qualified researchers.

This collection has been microfilmed and it will be brought to the researcher in that format. A comprehensive index to the microfilm will be provided to researchers on site. Gates’ orderly books have been digitized and are accessible via the EBSCO Revolutionary War Era Orderly Books database. Researchers may also print out unlimited copies from microfilm reader-printer machines at per-exposure rates. See guidelines in the Reading Room for details.

Conditions Governing Use note

This collection is owned by the New-York Historical Society. The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials. Unpublished materials created before January 1, 1978 cannot be quoted in publication without permission of the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation note

Horatio Gates papers, MS 240, New-York Historical Society.

Related Materials at the New-York Historical Society

John Burgoyne letters, 1777-1778.

Northern Department, Continental Army orderly books, 1776-1782.

Revolutionary War miscellaneous collection, 1774 - ca. 1847.

Richard Varick papers, 1743-1871 (bulk 1775-1830).

Additional materials relating to the collection can be located by searching the library's online catalog.

Processing Information note

In 1975, N-YHS received a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to microfilm the Gates papers. At the time, a search for additional materials related to Gates was conducted in various American and British libraries, in addition to other N-YHS collections. Relevant documents were submitted from over seventy institutions and as a result, the microfilm edition available at N-YHS includes both the original Gates papers, as well as the items loaned from other repositories. In 1979, the Microfilming Corporation of America, with sponsorship from N-YHS and NHPRC, published The Horatio Gates papers, 1726-1828: a guide to the microfilm edition. The  Guide provides a comprehensive index to the microfilm and is available for use in the Reading Room.

Bibliography

Saltzman, Martin, Barbara Dege, and Jenny Lawrence. 1979. The Horatio Gates papers, 1726-1828: a guide to the microfilm edition. Sanford, N.C.: Microfilming Corp. of America.

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Container List

Series 1: Correspondence, 1726-1828, n.d.

Arrangement note

This series is arranged in chronological order and is available on microfilm reels 1-17.

Scope and Contents note

Correspondence consists of letters related to Gates’ professional and personal matters. There is extensive correspondence concerning Gates’ expedition to Ticonderoga in 1776; his successes at Battle of Saratoga in 1777; and the failures at the Battle of Camden in 1780. This series also includes drafts of Gates’ letters and speeches; shopping and packing lists; military certificates; legal documents; and orders and proclamations from congress. Also included are typewritten transcripts for many of the aforementioned items.

Container 1     Title Date
Reel: 1 Correspondence
1726 September 13 - 1769 November 7
Reel: 2 Correspondence
1769 November 12 - 1776 July 17
Reel: 3 Correspondence
1776 July 17 - 1776 October 16
Reel: 4 Correspondence
1776 October 17 - 1777 August
Reel: 5 Correspondence
1777 August - 1777 October 19
Reel: 6 Correspondence
1777 October 20 - 1778 March 26
Reel: 7 Correspondence
1778 March 28 - 1778 August 15
Reel: 8 Correspondence
1778 August 16 - 1779 March 3
Reel: 9 Correspondence
1779 March 4 - 1779 July 10
Reel: 10 Correspondence
1779 July 10 - 1779 October 15
Reel: 11 Correspondence
1779 October 16 - 1780 August 20
Reel: 12 Correspondence
1780 August 21 - 1780 November 27
Reel: 13 Correspondence
1780 November 28 - 1784 May 6
Reel: 14 Correspondence
1784 May 7 - 1788 July 28
Reel: 15 Correspondence
1788 August 5 - 1792 January 1
Reel: 16 Correspondence
1792 January 2 - 1798 February 21
Reel: 17 Correspondence
1798 February 22 - 1828, n.d.

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Series 2: Orderly Books and Returns, 1756 - 1783

Arrangement note

This series is arranged in chronological order and is available on microfilm reels 18-19.

Scope and Contents note

The orderly books record the orders and movements of the British Army prior to the war, and the Continental Army during the war. The returns document the quantity, rank and physical condition of soldiers in various British and Continental regiments. This series includes an orderly book kept at Oneida Station, New York (later Fort Stanwix) in 1758; an orderly book recorded during the march from Carlisle to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1759; and Gates' journal from an expedition to Nova Scotia in 1750.

Conditions Governing Access note

Gates’ orderly books have been digitized and are accessible via the EBSCO Revolutionary War Era Orderly Books database.

Container 1     Title Date
Reel: 18 Orderly Books
1758 August 18 - 1783 February 15
Reel: 18 Returns
1756 January 29 - 1778 November 20
Reel: 19 Returns
1778 November 24 - 1783 February 25

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Series 3: Financial Papers, 1747-1799, n.d.

Arrangement note

This series is arranged in chronological order and is available on microfilm reels 19-20.

Scope and Contents note

This series includes receipts, invoices and account books pertaining to military expenditures and Gates’ personal finances.

Container 1     Title Date
Reel: 19 Financial Papers
1747 - 1768 December 29
Reel: 20 Financial Papers
1768 - 1799, n.d.

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