Major General Philip J. Schuyler
A statue of Major General Philip Schuyler stands in front of Albany City Hall in the capital of New York State. Schuyler was born in Albany in 1733 and went on to lead the Northern Department of the Continental Army at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. His bronze sculpture, standing at nine feet six inches, is a reminder of Albany’s ties to the American War of Independence.
Major General Philip Schuyler. (Photo: timesunion.com)
In 1775, Schuyler was elected to the Continental Congress and served that post until he was appointed a Major General in the Continental Army. He assumed command of the Northern Department of the army and planned an invasion of Canada. Because of his poor health, Schuyler was unable to lead the invasion and General Richard Montgomery took command of the operation. During the campaign, American forces attempted to capture the British-occupied city of Quebec to win support for the American cause in Canada. Those hopes were dashed as the attack, led by General Montgomery and Colonel Benedict Arnold failed. Montgomery lost his life at the Battle of Quebec and America suffered its first major defeat of the Revolutionary War.
A painting of General Montgomery's death at the Battle of Quebec. (Photo: britishbattles.com)
As Major General of the Northern Department of the Continental Army, Schuyler was also involved in preparing American defenses for the Saratoga Campaign. He lost his command after British troops led by General John Burgoyne captured Fort Ticonderoga with relative ease. Schuyler was replaced by General Horatio Gates, who went on to defeat Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777.
British General John Burgoyne surrenders to American General Horatio Gates after being defeated at the Battle of Saratoga. (Encyclopedia Britannica)
General Gates had accused Schuyler of dereliction of duty. This was not a matter that Schuyler took lightly and he demanded a court martial to answer Gates’ charges. Schuyler was vindicated of any wrongdoing, but resigned from the army on April 19, 1779. With his military career behind him, Schuyler went on to serve two terms in the Continental Congress during the war.