Monday, December 5, 2016

Was General Gates a Coward at Camden? Dead Horses Tell No Lies

In 2014 I gathered comments by the men on Gates’s behavior at Camden but figured my Butler debunking was enough. However, I still have the pension applications in a file and see that many of the surviving men remained contemptuous half a century and more later. Here are a couple of comments by veterans (not checking to Fold3) and a comment by that great equestrian-historian, the late Christopher Hibbert.
Henry Marsh: “He recollects well that General Gates killed three horses in traveling back to Hillsborough, he Gates having left the troops shortly after the commencement of the battle.”
Peter Francisco: “the British charged upon us and in a few moments dispersed the great Gen’l Gates’ army & he himself (the Genl) killed two horses in making his escape to Hillsborough.”
Christopher Hibbert in the 2002 Norton paperback of REDCOATS AND REBELS:
“[Gates] himself escaped and fled nearly two hundred miles on a panting horse.”
The rider may have been sufficiently praised, but not that marvelous horse.

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