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Thomas Conway

The Conway Cabal was a conspiracy within the Continental Congress and the Continental Army to discredit commander-in-chief George Washington and force him to resign. The cabal is named for its most active spirit, the Irish adventurer Thomas Conway, who was well-known for his rivalry with Washington due to his arrogance, condescending attitude, and his anger about not being promoted after the Battle of Germantown in 1777. Conway had the backing of several congressmen, and a umber of army officers, including General Horatio Gates, Major-General Thomas Mifflin, and Gates' staff officer Colonel James Wilkinson. Washington knew the existence of the cabal, intercepting insulting letters and even scaring Conway with a threatening note. The cabal's conspiracy reached its peak at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778, when Gates became the head of the Board of War, appointing Conway as Inspector-General of the Army and Major-General. The board planned to send the Marquis de Lafayette on a harebrained expedition to Canada in order to separate him from Washington and destroy his allegiance to him, but Lafayette refused to lead the expedition unless he was under Washington's orders, and Congress reluctantly decided to support Lafayette. The conspiracy broke down when the conspirators quarreled amongst themselves, with Gates being sent back north, Nathanael Greene replacing Mifflin as Quartermaster-General, and Conway tendering his resignation after dueling John Cadwalader.

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