Horatio Gates, George Washington’s Rival
Horatio Gates, the victor of Saratoga, had military designs that went unfulfilled, writes Max M. Mintz; both to invade Canada and displace Washington as Continental Commander.
For George Washington, the surrender of John Burgoyne’s 5,700 British troops at Saratoga on October 17th, 1777, was not an unmixed blessing. It raised up Horatio Gates as a rival who thirsted to follow up his victory with an invasion of Canada and claim the credit for ending the war. Such a venture, Washington objected, would siphon off men and supplies from the beleaguered southern armies and had as little chance of success against British naval superiority as the disastrous invasion of 1775. The contest over that issue became his greatest ordeal of command.