A letter to John Hancock from Horatio Gates concerning the victory at Freeman’s Farm during the Saratoga campaign.

American General Horatio Gates wrote this four-page handwritten letter, dated October 12, 1777, to John Hancock, who was then serving as President of the Continental Congress. Gates speaks to the condition of his men as well as the whereabouts of General Burgoyne.


Campt at Saratoga Oct 12th 1777


I have the satisfaction to acquaint your Excellency with the great success of the of the Army of the United States in the [section torn]

On the 7th just the heavy attacked [section torn] Picked up on loss which decent [section torn] about the same hour of the day, and near [section torn] same spot of ground where that of the 19th of Sept was fought. From 3 o’clock in the Afternoon until almost Night the Conflict was very warm & bloody, when the heavy by a precipitate retreat determined the Fate of the Day leaving in our Hand eight pieces of Brass cannon, the Tents and Baggage of men Flying Army, a large quantity of [section torn] ammunition, a considerable number [section torn] wounded and Prisoner amongst [section torn] following principal officer [section torn] who commanded the artillery, Major Ackland who commanded the Corps of Grenadier, Capt. Money(?) who commanded L. M. Gnl and Sir Francis Clark principal Aide de Camp to his Excellency Genl Burgoyne. The loss upon our side is not more than killed and

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wounded. Amongst the latter is the gallant Major Genl Arnold whose Leg was fractured by a Musket Ball as he was forcing the heavy’s Breach Work(?). Too much Praise cannot be given to the Corps commanded by Col. Morgan consisting of his [section torn] Regiment, and the light infantry of the [section torn] under Major Dearborn. But it would be [section torn] not to say that the whole body organized [section torn] the Honor & applause due to such exalted Merit. The Night after the action the heavy took part in the strong entrenched camp upon their loſs. Genl. Lincoln, whose decision was opposite to the heavy, going in the Afternoon to direct a cannonade to annoy their Camp, received a Musket Ball in his Leg which shattered the Bone. This has deprived me of the Assistance of one of the best officers as well as Men. His Loss at this Time [section torn] too much regretted. I am in Hopes his [section torn] be saved.

The 9th at midnight the heavy quitted their entrenchments & retired to Saratoga. Early in the Morning of the 9th I [received] the enclosed letter from Genl Burgoyne acquainting me that he left his whole Hospital to my protection, in which are 300 wounded officers & soldiers. Brigadier

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Brigadr Genl Frazer who commanded the flying army of the heavy was killed the 7th [Oct] ___ At one o’clock in the Morning of the 10th I [received] the enclosed letter from Genl Burgoyne with Lady Harriet Ackland. That morning as soon as the army could be properly put in Motion, I marched in Pursuit of the heavy and arrived here in [section torn] and found the heavy had taken [section torn] the opposite side of the (unclear) Hill in a entrenched camp which they occupied upon their advancing down the Country. The heavy have burnt all the houses before them as they (unclear). The extensive Buildings and Mills & belonging Major Genl Schuyler are also laid in ashes.

This shameful Behavior [section torn] by sending a Drum with the enclosed [section torn] to Genl Burgoyne. I am [section torn] your Excellency that [section torn] a deep Root in the Royal [section torn] particularly among the Germans who come to us in shoals. I am so (unclear) pressed on every side with Buiness that is impossible for me to be more

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more particular now, but I hope in a few days to have Leisure to acquaint your Excellency with every Circumstance at present omitted.

I am with great respect your Excellency’s most obd hble Ser.

Horatio Gates

His Excellency John Hancock, Esq.

[Note along Margin]
Copy of Letter from Horatio Gates Campt at Saratoga
Oct. 12, 1777