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First Name: Philip

Last Name: Schuyler

Birthplace: Albany, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Continental Army (1775 - 1784)

Middle Name: John

Date of Birth: 20 November 1733

Date of Death: 18 November 1804

Rank: Major General

Years Served:
Philip John Schuyler

•  Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783)


Philip John Schuyler
Major General, Continental Army

Philip John Schuyler was born on 20 November 1733 in Albany, NY, to a wealthy Colonial family. His family had gradually expanded their holdings and influence in the New World. His father, John Schuyler, Jr., was the third generation of the Dutch family in America, when he married Cornelia Van Cortlandt, connecting them with another prominent family.

Philip's father died on the eve of his seventh birthday. After attending the public school at Albany, he was educated by tutors at the Van Cortlandt family estate at New Rochelle. He joined the British forces in 1755 during the French and Indian War, raised a company, and was commissioned as its Captain by his cousin, Lt. Governor James Delancey. Later in that war, he served as a quartermaster, purchasing supplies and organizing equipment.

From 1761-62, Schuyler made a trip to England to settle accounts from his work as quartermaster. During this time, his home in Albany, later called Schuyler Mansion, was built. His country estate at Saratoga (which is now Schuylerville, NY) was also begun. After the war he also expanded his estate at Saratoga, expanding his holdings to tens of thousands of acres, adding slaves, tenant farmers, a store, mills for flour, flax, and lumber. His flax mill for the making of linen was the first one in America. If they had been situated in the South, Schuyler's holdings at Saratoga would have been called a plantation. He built several schooners on the Hudson River, and named the first Saratoga.

Schuyler began his political career as a member of the New York Assembly in 1768, and served in that body until 1775. During this time his views came to be more opposed to the colonial government. He was particularly outspoken in matters of trade and currency. He was also made a Colonel in the militia for his support of Governor Henry Moore.

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 invasion was eventually stopped and defeated at the Battle of Saratoga by Continental forces then under the command of Gates and Benedict Arnold. That victory, the first wholesale defeat of a large British Army at the hands of the former colonials, brought France into the war on the American side. When Schuyler demanded a court martial to answer Gates' charges, he was vindicated but resigned from the Army on 19 April 1779. He then served in two more sessions of the Continental Congress in 1779 and 1780.

Later Career

He was a member of the New York State Senate from 1780-84, and at the same time New York State Surveyor General from 1781-84. Afterwards he returned to the State Senate from 1786-90, where he actively supported the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.

In 1789, he was elected a U.S. Senator from New York to the First U.S. Congress, serving from 27 July 1789, to 4 March 1791. After losing his bid for re-election in 1791, he returned to the State Senate from 1792-97. In 1797, he was elected again to the U.S. Senate and served in the 5th U.S. Congress from 4 March 1797 until his resignation, because of ill health, on 3 January 1798.


A cousin of John Schuyler, Jr., was Peter Schuyler who commanded the Jersey Blues. Another Cousin of Philip Schuyler, Hester Schuyler, 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 {These were also the grandparents of Congressman Schuyler Colfax}. A nephew of Peter Schuyler was Loyalist Arent Schuyler De Peyster. A brother-in-law of Philip Schuyler was Director General of the Military Hospitals of the Continental Army, Dr. John Cochran (military physician.

Personal & Descendants

In September of 1755, Schuyler married Catherine Van Rensselaer (1734-1803) at Albany. This cemented his relationship with another powerful New York family. Although the marriage was urgent (their first daughter Angelica was born in February 1756), they were a devoted couple for the rest of their lives and had fifteen children.

His daughter, Elizabeth, married Alexander Hamilton, who was later Secretary of the Treasury.

His son, Philip Jeremiah Schuler, also had a political career and served in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Another daughter, Margarita, married a cousin, Stephen Van Rensselaer III, 8th Patroon of the name.

Angelica married John Barker Church, Member of Parliament.

Schuyler's family line continues; descendants of him and his children are living today.


• Philip's country home had been destroyed by British General John Burgoyne's forces in September 1777. Starting later that year, he rebuilt on the same site, now located in southern Schuylerville, NY. The 1777 home is maintained by the National Park Service as part of the Saratoga National Historical Park and is open to the public.

• Schuyler's mansion in Albany is maintained by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and is open to the public.

• Schuyler County, IL, and Schuyler County, NY, are named in his honor.

• In 1833, construction of a fort began on the tip of the Throggs Neck peninsula in New York, to protect the western end of the Long Island Sound. The installation of armament was completed in 1856, and the fortification was named Fort Schuyler in his honor. Fort Schuyler now houses the Maritime Industry Museum and the State University of New York Maritime College.

• Albany, NY, erected a statue of Schuyler by sculptor J. Massey Rhind in 1925.

Death and Burial

Major General Philip John Schuyler died on 18 November 1804 at his mansion in Albany, NY. He is buried at Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands, NY.

Honoree ID: 3052   Created by: MHOH




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