The Patriot Resource - American Revolution


British General Thomas Gage
Thomas Gage
Born: 1721; Firle, Sussex, England
Died: April 2, 1787; Portland, England

Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in America: 1763-1775



French and Indian War: 1759-1763
In January 1759, Brig. General Thomas Gage and his new wife arrived in and took command of Albany and its neighboring posts. He served on Maj. General Jeffery Amhers's staff until July 1759 when he was given command of forces operating on Lake Ontario with orders from Amherst to secure Fort La Galette and even putsh down and capture Montreal. Gage felt that he lacked the strength to do so and thought that he should strengthen Niagara and Oswego while Amherst and Maj. General James Wolfe moved into Canada. Amherst showed his displeasure in Gage's assessment. Gage again commanded Albany during the winter of 1759 and then commanded General Amherst's rear guard in his advance to Montreal in 1760.

Following the French surrender in Canada, Gage became militiary governor of Montreal and a district to the south on September 6, 1760. He did not like Catholics or Indians, but proved do do well with his post during the three years until the end of the French and Indian War. He was promoted to Major General in 1761. In June 1762, he was given command of the 22nd Regiment. On November 16, 1763, he arrived at New York City and assumed duties as acting Commander-in-Chief in America with General Amherst returing to England.


In Between the Wars: 1763-1774
On November 16, 1764, Gage officially succeeded Amherst. He would oversee the rise in political tensions in the American colonies. He had to cope with the fallout of the actions of Parliament back in London. Following the passage of the Stamp Act, Gage began to draw troops from western and rural posts into the coastal cities, especially New York City. Following the reaction to the Townshend Acts, Boston became the seat of the rebellion. Gage responded by sending troops there.

Gage soon established a garrison at Boston and more and more troops were stationed there as tensions rose. It was not long before there were too many troops, because additional troops had been ordered to Boston from Halifax, Nova Scotia by the British government in England. The Quartering Act was passed in 1765 to provide housing for the troops. On October 15, 1765, Gage went to Boston for about six weeks to make quartering arrangements for the troops. Tensioned boiled over with the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770. However, the situation was diffused and the rebellion calmed down for a period.

During this period of calm in October 1772, Gage requested a leave of absence to return to England for the first time in seventeen years. On June 8, 1773, he and his family sailed for England. When he was in England, the Boston Port Bill was passed, closing Boston's harbor until reparations were made for the tea destroyed in the Boston Tea Party. Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson was about to go to England on leave and to report on the situation. Royal Lt. Governor Andrew Oliver was frail and expected to die soon. As a result, it was thought that Gage's return to the American colonies was necessary.








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