Serving first as a junior officer in British Army, Gates first saw action during the French and Indian War alongside many future American patriots. At the onset of the War of Independence, Gates offered his service to Washington, and was commissioned as a Brigadier General in the Continental Army. After initial successes – most notably his role in defeating General Burgoyne at Saratoga – Gates suffered several setbacks. He was reprimanded for being involved in a plot to replace George Washington as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, and later, his army was crushed in Camden, South Carolina, resulting in more than 1,000 troops being taken prisoner. The devastating defeat at Camden not only evaporated Gates’ army, but it shattered his military reputation as well, resulting in his removal from field command.
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