Built in 1763, Schuyler Mansion was the home of Phillip Schuyler, one of the most important men in the American Revolution’s Northern Department. He was key in halting and defeating Burgoyne’s advances in 1776 and 1777, even if he doesn't get credit for it.
Born in Albany in 1733, Schuyler first experienced combat in the French and Indian War. First a captain of the Colonel Militia before rising to the rank of major, Schuyler took part in many major battles of the War, including at Fort Ticonderoga and Fort Frontenac. Learning important details of logistics, Schuyler was noted to have excelled in the provision and supplying of troops during the war. So it came as little surprise that when war broke out in 1775 that Schuyler was one of the men the Continental Congress turned to to lead their army.
Chosen as one of the four Major Continental Generals under George Washington, Schuyler was appointed by congress to the Head of the War Department in the North. A normally difficult task, it was especially difficult for Schuyler as there was up to this point no Continental Army. So he had to create and supply an army for the North. Congress made it no easier when they gave him his first major task, the invasion of Canada.
The invasion was organized and set off in the Winter of 1775. Led by Schuyler, the expedition was initially met with patriot success. They quickly took Crown Point and Montreal, before being halted at Quebec. By this point Schuyler had fallen ill and returned to New York, but an attack on Quebec was repelled and soon the patriot army was forced to retreat from Canada in defeat.
Subsequent losses at Valcour Island and Fort Ticonderoga were initially seen as evidence of poor leadership skills on Schuylers part. It was something fellow patriot general Horatio Gates used to tarnish Schuyler’s reputation and replace him as Head of the War Department in the North.
Re-examination by historians in recent years have revealed that these defeats were actually brilliant moves of strategy on Schuyler’s part. Seeing inevitable defeats ahead of him at both Valcour Island and Fort Ticonderoga, Schuyler set out to stall and weaken the enemy for future engagements rather than attempt to defeat them. In both cases they were complete success’s as Schuyler was able to halt Burgoyne’s advancing army. In subsequent months Schuyler worked effortlessly, investing all manpower and resources (including his own personal wealth) to stall Burgoyne’s army and leave them without resources. Though Schuyler was replaced before the Battle of Saratoga, his work left Burgoyne’s army exhausted, weak and ill prepared to face the the patriot army. Further evidence to his actual success came when Schuyler court marshaled himself to clear himself of his tarnish reputation. He was subsequently clear of all wrongdoing. Schuyler retired from the army in 1779, but his tireless efforts were invaluable in the survival of the American army and their subsequent victories early in the War of American Independence.
"HOME OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION." Philip Schuyler. Accessed March 29, 2016. http://www.americanrevolution.com/biographies/colonials/philip_schuyler.
"Victory...Impossible Without Schuyler’s Direction - The New York State Military Museum." Victory...Impossible Without Schuyler’s Direction - The New York State Military Museum. September 19, 2007. Accessed March 27, 2016. https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/articles/victorySchuyler.htm.
Wikipedia. Accessed March 27, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Schuyler.