Papers of John Adams, volume 9

To Samuel Adams

To Nathanael Greene

To Horatio Gates, 18 March 1780 JA Gates, Horatio


To Horatio Gates, 18 March 1780 Adams, John Gates, Horatio
To Horatio Gates
Dear sir Paris March 18 1780

The Marquis de la Fayettes Brother, the Viscount de Noailles tells me, he should be glad to take Letters to America, and I dont know to whom I can give him a Letter with more Propriety than to the General of Saratoga.

I should be proud to return any Civilities you may shew him to any of your Friends, who may travell to Paris.

I want very much to know, what Scope the Ennemy have from New York, what supplies of Provisions, &c. they do and can derive from New Jersey, New York or Connecticutt. If you can find Leisure, to inform me you will much oblige, sir your Friend and humble sert.

John Adams 62

I want too the best Plan for attacking New York, how many ships and how many Troops, and what Number of Land forces you can depend upon having from the united states. I hope N.Y. will be ours in the Course of this Campain: but if it should not I should be glad to have these Things to contemplate upon next Winter.1

RC (NHi: Gates Papers;) endorsed: “Paris March. 18th. 1780. John Adams rec'd. 28th. Augst.”


The letter to Gates is one of eight letters written on 18 March to past or current general officers of the Continental Army in which JA requested intelligence on the progress of the war. The others were to Nathanael Greene (below), Alexander McDougall (NSchU: McDougall Papers), Johann Kalb, Henry Knox, Samuel Holden Parsons, Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, and John Sullivan (all LbC's, Adams Papers). The letters to Greene, McDougall, Knox, Parsons, and Sullivan also served as letters of introduction for Vicomte de Noailles, while in those to Kalb and von Steuben, as he did in this letter to Gates, JA specifically requested information regarding an attack on New York.