The Conway Cabal aimed to replace George Washington as commander-in-chief of the Army during the American Revolutionary War. It was a group of senior Continental Army officers who plotted this conspiracy in late 1777 and early 1778. The group was named after Brigadier General Thomas Conway. His letters criticized Washington and were forwarded to the Second Continental Congress. Conway received his coveted promotion of Inspector General of the Army on December 13.
The Conway Cabal
- The Congress reconstituted the Board of War (an oversight committee) and appointed Horatio Gates as its head.
- Gates created an office of Inspector General and planned a new campaign to Canada (to be commanded by Lafayette). Gates’ real ambition was to gain Washington’s position.
- Gates tried to nominate Thomas Conway as Inspector General. Conway had been one of the main anti-Washington agitators.
- Washington learned of the “conspiracy” and wrote to Henry Laurens (president of Congress) and asked that Nathanael Greene as Quartermaster General, which Laurens did.
- Gates wrote a letter to Washington denying that he had anything against Washington. Conway resigned from the army.
- Washington obtained the appointment of General Wilhelm von Steuben, who came to Washington with an inflated resume. He claimed to have been a baron who served on Frederick the Great’s personal staff, but he had really just been a captain.
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