Gates (1727-1806), as Adjutant General of the Continental Army with previous military administrative experience in the Seven Years War, was of inestimable value to the new army. John Thomas (1724-1776), as Brigadier General, led his division to fortify Dorchester Heights on 4 March, forcing the British fleet to withdraw three days before the present letter was written. Congress promoted Thomas to Major General and assigned him command in Canada.
Gates writes: "Inclosed I send you His Excellency The General's Orders and Instructions; as he cannot be more particular at present for want of Later and Better Information, he sincerely wishes you a pleasant Journey & all immaginable Health & Success. In this no one more heartily concurrs than Dear General Your Affectionate Humble Servant"
Washington's orders and instructions are now no longer extant, but General Thomas joined the army besieging Quebec on 1 May, and died of smallpox 2 June.
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