This will be the definitive history of the Conway Cabal by a distinguished historian. The Conway Cabal, named for the chief conspirator, Thomas Conway, was an attempt by a group of senior Continental officers to remove George Washington from command beginning in late 1777\. The primary evidence has been letters written by Conway criticizing Washington and suggesting there were other officers who would bring better results to the war effort. These letters were disclosed to the Second Continental Congress which then unraveled the plot. Among those implicated was Horatio Gates whose own adjutant, James Wilkinson a duplicitous character himself had alerted Washington to the plot providing incriminating correspondence by Gates. Gates was forced to publicly apologize and, ironically, the man who thought he could do a better job than Washington, soon lost his entire army to Lord Cornwallis at the Battle of Camden, in addition to fleeing the battlefield! The author provides the complete background to the plot as well as its aftermath (including the Newburgh Conspiracy), and presents the Conway Cabal as it is generally known by historians in order to set up his achievement, which has been to carefully scour existing correspondence to reveal that the plot was much larger and much closer to achieving success than has been recognized.
A long overdue study of one of the most disputed chapters of the War for Independence. The author's scholarship is first-rate, his argument convincing, and his writing a pleasure to follow. A fine and significant volume and a must for anyone interested in the Revolution. --Frank J. Esposito, Distinguished Professor of History, Kean University Cabal! makes a compelling case and will be an important addition to scholarship in this area, perhaps the dominant one for years to come. --Christian McBurney, author of Kidnapping the Enemy: The Special Operations to Capture Generals Charles Lee and Richard Prescott Lucidly written and compelling, Cabal! spells-out the who, what and why of the Conway Cabal. This is a genuinely significant book. --Garry Wheeler Stone, coauthor of Fatal Sunday: George Washington, the Monmouth Campaign, and the Politics of Battle Although Lender works to correct the oversight and omission from the academic history side, the book is engaging and accessible enough to appeal to a wide audience. Students of the Revolution will find this an enjoyable read that adds valuable dimensions and insight into what was happening on the administrative side during the famed winter at Valley Forge. --Journal of the American Revolution