Gage, Thomas (1721–1787), a British army officer. Gage was commander in chief of British forces in North America and governor of Massachusetts at the outbreak of the American Revolution. Appointed to both posts in 1774 (he had previously served as commander in chief from 1763 to 1772), he was given the difficult task of enforcing the closing of the port of Boston and other measures resented by the colonists.
During the winter of 1774–75, Gage's troops seized illegal military equipment in and near Boston. The troops met resistance while on a raid on April 19, 1775, and the battles of Lexington and Concord followed. The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought on June 17, when Gage ordered his men to attack patriots holding a strongly fortified position on Breed's Hill. The hill was taken, but casualties were high, and Gage was strongly criticized. He resigned his command in October and returned to England.
Gage, the second son of a viscount, was born in Sussex. He entered the army in 1741. In 1754, during the French and Indian War, he came to America as a lieutenant colonel with General Edward Braddock. He was wounded in 1755 near Fort Duquesne. Gage was with General James Abercromby in the unsuccessful attack on Fort Ticonderoga (1758) and with Jeffrey Amherst during the capture of Montreal (1760). Gage was governor of Montreal, 1760–63. He was made a major general in 1761 and general in 1782.