Henry Killian Van Rensselaer, also known as Hendrick Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, was a Colonel, and later a General, in the American Revolutionary War. He played a very important role in the Battle of Fort Anne in 1877.
Van Rensselaer was a grandson of Hendrick Van Rensselaer, the builder of Fort Crailo, the Van Rensselaer estate. He was also the father of Solomon Van Vechten Van Rensselaer [1774-1852], who became a Representative for New York in the U. S. House of Representatives. Solomon also became known as the commander of the troops which crossed over to Queenston Heights in the War of 1812, and fought valiantly. Solomon was seriously injured in that battle.
Henry Van Rensselaer fought in a fierce battle near Fort Anne on orders of General Philip Schuyler. He was expected to hold the enemy at Fort Anne to prevent it from gaining more armaments at Fort Amsterdam. He also was expected to assist Colonel Pierse Long with his retreat from the 1877 Battle of Ticonderoga.
A series of retreats and advances by both the Patriots and the British culminated into a series of bombardments. During one of the engagements Van Rensselaer was shot in the thigh through to his knee and shattered his femur. The standoff between the two sides resulted in the British being delayed and forced to retreat after a decisive two hour battle.
The Patriots did not stay at Fort Anne. The purpose of their attack on Fort Anne was to delay the British and that was accomplished. They did however destroy Fort Anne by setting it on fire and making it useless for further use by the British.
There is no information on when Henry Van Rensselaer was promoted to general. It probably occurred when he retired from active service in the New York Volunteers.
Henry Killian Van Rensselaer was born on July 25, 1744 and passed away on September 9, 1816. There is no information on where he was buried. It probably took place in Albany, New York.
See the appendix at the end of the bio profile for Kiliaen Van Rensselaer [1595-1644] to see the relationship between the ten Van Rensselaers in this listing.
New York Times, “Obituary of his son, Solomon Van Vechten Van Rensselaer”, April 26, 1852.
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