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Philip Schuyler : biography

November 20, 1733 - November 18, 1804

Philip John Schuyler (November 20, 1733November 18, 1804) was a general in the American Revolution and a United States Senator from New York. He is usually known as Philip Schuyler, while his son is usually known as Philip J. Schuyler.

Later career

He was a member of the New York State Senate from 1780 to 1784, and at the same time New York State Surveyor General from 1781 to 1784. Afterwards he returned to the State Senate from 1786 to 1790, where he actively supported the adoption of the United States Constitution.

In 1789, he was elected a U.S. Senator from New York to the First United States Congress, serving from July 27, 1789, to March 4, 1791. After losing his bid for re-election in 1791, he returned to the State Senate from 1792 to 1797. In 1797, he was elected again to the U.S. Senate and served in the 5th United States Congress from March 4, 1797 until his resignation because of ill health on January 3, 1798.

Family and Relatives

In September 1755, he married Catherine Van Rensselaer Find A Grave (1734–1803) at Albany. Philip and Catherine had fifteen children together. Among them are:

  • Angelica, who married British MP John Barker Church.
  • Elizabeth, married Alexander Hamilton who later was the first United States Secretary of the Treasury.
  • Philip Jeremiah Schuyler, who served in the United States House of Representatives.
  • Margarita, who married Stephen Van Rensselaer III 8th Patroon of the name.

Additionally, Schuyler is related to:

  • Peter Schuyler (cousin), who commanded the Jersey Blues.
  • Hester Schuyler (cousin), who married William Colfax, a veteran of George Washington's Life Guards and later a general in the New Jersey militia who also commanded the Jersey Blues. (William and Hester were the grandparents of Vice President and Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax).
  • Arent Schuyler De Peyster (cousin), a noted Loyalist.
  • Mary (Watts) Johnson (second cousin), loyalist and wife of Colonel Sir John Johnson.
  • Dr. John Cochran (brother-in-law), Director General of the Military Hospitals of the Continental Army. Office of Medical History

Schuyler's country home had been destroyed by General John Burgoyne's forces in September, 1777. Later that year, he began rebuilding on the same site, now located in southern Schuylerville, New York. This later home is maintained by the National Park Service as part of the Saratoga National Historical Park, and is open to the public.

Schuyler died at the Schuyler Mansion in Albany on November 18, 1804, and is buried in the Albany Rural Cemetery at Menands, New York.

Notes

Revolutionary War

Schuyler was elected to the Continental Congress in 1775, and served until he was appointed a Major General of the Continental Army in June. General Schuyler took command of the Northern Department, and planned the Invasion of Canada (1775). His poor health required him to place Richard Montgomery in command of the invasion.

As department commanding General, he was active in preparing a defense against the Saratoga Campaign, part of the "Three Pronged Attack" strategy of the British to cut the American Colonies in two by invading and occupying New York State in 1777. In the summer of that year General John Burgoyne marched his British army south from Quebec over the valleys of Lakes Champlain and George. On the way he invested the small Colonial garrison occupying Fort Ticonderoga at the nexus of the two lakes. When General St. Clair surrendered Fort Ticonderoga in July, the Congress replaced Schuyler with General Horatio Gates, who had accused Schuyler of dereliction of duty.

The British offensive was eventually stopped by Continental Army then under the command of Gates and Benedict Arnold in the Battle of Saratoga. That victory, the first wholesale defeat of a large British force, marked a turning point in the revolution, for it convinced France to enter the war on the American's side. When Schuyler demanded a court martial to answer Gates' charges, he was vindicated but resigned from the Army on April 19, 1779. He then served in two more sessions of the Continental Congress in 1779 and 1780.

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