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Henry Bell Van Rensselaer
Personal Information
Born: May 14, 1810(1810-05-14)
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Died: March 23, 1864 (aged 53)
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Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
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Branch: Union Army
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Battles: American Civil War
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Henry Bell Van Rensselaer (May 14, 1810 – March 23, 1864) was a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War, and a politician who served in the United States Congress as a Representative from the state of New York.


Henry Van Rensselaer was born at the manor house in Albany, New York. He was the son of Stephen Van Rensselaer III, who was also a Representative and founder of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Henry graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1831. He was appointed a brevet Second Lieutenant of the Fifth Regiment, United States Infantry on July 1, 1831, and resigned January 27, 1832. He then engaged in agricultural pursuits near Ogdensburg, New York.

Van Rensselaer was elected as a Whig to the Twenty-seventh United States Congress, and served from March 4, 1841 to March 3, 1843. He was then associated with mining enterprises. Upon the outbreak of the American Civil War he reentered the military service with the rank of brigadier general in the Union Army, and was appointed chief of staff under General Winfield Scott. He served as inspector general with the rank of colonel from 1862 until his death. He was a director of the Northern Railroad (later the Rutland Railroad), but resigned to help found the Ogdensburg, Clayton and Rome Railroad.[1]

Van Rensselaer died in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was interred in the Grace Episcopal Churchyard, in Jamaica, Queens in New York City.

Van Rensselaer's wife was Elizabeth Ray King, a granddaughter of Rufus King. The couple were the great-grandparents of Floyd Crosby and Jane Wyatt.

See also[]

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  1. Susan Lyman (1976). Rails Into Racquetteville. The Norwood Historical Association. 

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