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Letter from William Sharpe to Horatio Gates
Sharpe, William, 1742-1818
October 24, 1780
Volume 14, Pages 708-709


Philadelphia, Octr. 24th, 1780.

Dear Sir:

The defeat of Ferguson gives a flattering prospect to our southern department.

Soon after my arrival at this place I wrote you largely. I presume that before this reaches you you will hear that Congress has directed the commander-in-Chief to cause a Court of inquiry into the causes of the failure of the late expedition in South Carolina,

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and to appoint an Officer to take command in that department during your suspension; and in consequence thereof Genl. Greene is appointed to that command, who is supposed to be on his way from head quarters before this time.

This measure is at least ostensibly founded on a standing resolution of Congress respecting the loss of posts, defeats of armies, &c. I doubt not you will view this as an addition to your late misfortunes. Many others with myself feel very sensibly for you.

On my way hence, as well as in this city, I found the current of censure strong against you. I have opposed & contradicted many romantic tales and surmises.

I am conscious that I have treated you with candor in my representations, and ascribed your misfortunes to their true causes.

The State of our finances, the want of vigor in the several States, gives Congress infinite embarrassments.

At the instance of the Empress of Russia a Congress is to be held in Europe, to which the Beligerent and neutral powers are united. The ostensible object is to regulate some matters of commerce and ascertain the rights of neutral nations. Some important consequences will follow this meeting.

Not a word of the second division of French, except that of their being block'd up in Brest.

The article in the newspaper respecting the Capture of the 50 British Merchantmen may be depended on.

A week ago 2,500 troops embarked from New York. If they are bound for the southward you will hear of it probably before this reaches you.

With due esteem, I am, Sir,
Your Most Obt. Humble Servt.,

P. S. I have the pleasure to send you inclosed a copy of the tryal of Majr. Andre, which will give you accurate information on that very interesting affair.

Genl. Gates.