English-born General Horatio Gates (1728–1806) served in North America and the West Indies during the French and Indian War before settling in Virginia. He was appointed a general in the Continental Army. After the fall of Fort Ticonderoga, Gates was placed in command of the Northern Department. Subsequently, he won a great victory at Saratoga, New York. In the wake of his victory, Gates found himself at the center of the Conway Cabal, a short-lived attempt to supplant George Washington as commander in chief. In July 1780, Congress appointed Gates commander of the Southern Department. Gates rashly engaged superior British forces at Camden and compounded his error by placing untried militia units in his front line and avoiding the field himself. Afterward he retired to his farm in disgrace. Remarkably, Gates was allowed to take possession of the army once more for the final year of the war.

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