GATES, Horatio, Continential General. Autograph letter signed ("Horatio Gates") to General Benjamin Lincoln, "Camp, Heights above Behmus's" [Bemis Heights], 19 September 1777. 1 page, folio, 320 x 198mm (12 x 7½in.), the sheet with untrimmed edges, integral address leaf, repair to seal hole.
GATES ON THE DAY OF THE FIRST BATTLE AT FREEMAN'S FARMS, SARATOGA
The Continental commander writes to Lincoln, who was marching with a body of militia from the Bennington area to join the Continental forces arrayed against Burgoyne's army at Bemis Heights, near Saratoga: "It is the opinion of all the Generals that I have consulted with, that in the present position and circumstances of General Burgoyne's Army, considered with his apparent views, your Army ought to be posted at Stillwater, and that not one moment should be lost, in your marching them thither: upon your arrival there, you will take possession of the Heights upon the east side, and fix five or six hundred men thereupon - the rest you will encamp at the old station - General Burgoyne has not left, the smallest article, at any of the posts in his rear, this I informed you of in my last - You will march by the shortest route to Stillwater - Provisions etc. shall be provided for you there."
Gates' letter was apparently written early on the morning of the First Battle of Saratoga, which broke out a little after 12:00 noon, when Burgoyne sent three columns against Gate's lines; due to quick action by Benedict Arnold and Daniel Morgan's riflemen, the attack in the area around Freeman's Farm was repulsed with heavy casualties. Lincoln's militia joined the American lines by September 27 and participated in the Second Battle of Saratoga, on 7 October, which sealed Burgoyne's fate. He and his army surrendered on 17 October.