Philip John Schuyler (November 201733 - November 181804) 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.
His father died when Philip was seven years old. 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.
In September of 1755, he 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 eleven children.
From 1761 to 1762, 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, New York) 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.
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 Bugoyne 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. The British were eventually stopped and defeated at the Battle of Saratoga by Colonial forces then under the command of Benedict Arnold. That victory, the first wholesale defeat of a large British army at the hands of Colonials, is largely thought to have brought France into the war on the American side. When Schuyler demanded a court martial for his role, he was vindicated but resigned from the army in 1779. He then served in two more sessions of the Continental Congress in 1779 and 1780.
He was elected a United States Senator to the First United States Congress, serving from July 161789 to March 31791. Losing his bid for reelection, he returned to the State Senate from 1792 to 1797. He was elected again to the U.S. Senate and served in the 5th United States Congress from March 41797 until his resignation because of health problems on January 31798.
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, New York. 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 died at his mansion in Albany on November 18, 1804, and is buried in the Albany Rural Cemetery at Menands, New York. Schuyler County, Illinois, and Schuyler County, New York, were 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.