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Peter Gansevoort

 A Stan Klos Biography

GANSEVOORT, Peter, soldier, born in Albany, New York, 17 July, 1749; died there, 2 July, 1812. He was appointed major of the 2d New York regiment, 19 July, 1775, and in August joined the army that invaded Canada under Montgomery. He was made lieutenant colonel, 19 March, 1776, colonel of the 3d regiment, 21 November, 1776, and appointed to the command of Fort George.

 

In April, 1777, he had charge of Fort Schuyler, previously called Fort Stanwix, and gallantly defended it against the British and Indians under St. Leger, whose co-operation with Burgoyne he prevented. The siege lasted twenty days, and for his vigorous service he received a vote of thanks from congress.

 

In the spring of 1779 he was ordered to join Sullivan in his western expedition. He distinguished himself at the head of a body of picked men by surprising the lower Mohawk castle, and captured all the Indian inhabitants by the dexterity of his movements. He was appointed brigadier-general in 1781 by the legislature of New York. In 1783 he accompanied General Washington on his tour to the northern battle-fields.

 

During the controversy caused by the New Hampshire land grants, many of the insurgent regiments belonged to General Gansevoort's brigade. These disturbances arose in Schaghticoke, St. Coych, and adjacent regions. He repaired to Saratoga and solicited troops from General Stark, but the latter refused to interfere unless ordered by General Heath, his superior officer. With what volunteers he could raise, Gansevoort advanced to St. Coych, where he found a force of 500 men ready to support the insurgent militia. Having only 80 men, he retired five miles, and attempted, by writing to the leaders, to induce them to lay down their arms, but his request was in vain, and the so-called rebels remained undisturbed.

 

General Gansevoort filled several important offices. He was Commissioner of Indian Affairs, commissioner for fortifying the frontiers, and military agent. He was made a brigadier-general in the United States army in 1809.

 

--His brother, Leonard Gansevoort, born in Albany in 1751; died there in 1810, was a delegate to the Continental congress from New York during 1787-'8. He was also a member of the New York provincial congress, state senator in 1791-'3 and 1797-1802, and member of assembly in 1778-'9 and 1788. His country-seat of White Hall, near Albany, formerly renowned for its generous hospitality, was occupied by his descendants until recently, when it was destroyed by fire.

 

--Peters' cousin, Leonard Gansevoort, born in 1754; died in 1834, was first judge of Albany County in 1794-'7.

 

--Peter's grandson, Guert Gansevoort, naval officer, born in Gansevoort, Saratoga County, New York, 7 June, 1812; died in Schenectady, New York, 15 July, 18(18, was the son of Leonard H. Gansevoort. He was appointed midshipman in 1823; lieutenant in 1837; commander, 14 September, 1855; captain, 16 July, 1862; and commodore in 1866. He was lieutenant on the brig "Somers" when Commander Alexander S. Mackenzie executed Midshipman Spencer for mutiny (see MACKENZIE), and was one of the council of officers that approved and sustained the act.

 

He rose to prominence during the Mexican war, in which he distinguished himself in command of the "John Adams." He was engaged in the Indian war of 1856, and did honorable service in the battle of Sitka on the Pacific coast. For some time after the beginning of the civil war he was chief of the ordnance department at the Brooklyn navy yard, but subsequently was in command of the iron-clad "Roanoke." His last cruise ended in September, 1864, and he retired as commodore on 28 January 1867. His service in the navy covered a period of forty-five years, eighteen being spent at sea.

 

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia by John Looby, Copyright © 2001 StanKlos.comTM


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