RITZEMA, RUDOLPHUS. (1738?–1803). Continental officer, turncoat. Rudolphus Ritzema graduated from King's College (later Columbia) in 1758. On 30 June 1775 he became a lieutenant colonel of the First New York Regiment. Taking part in the invasion of Canada under General Richard Montgomery's command, Ritzema was promoted to colonel of the regiment on 28 November 1775 and assumed command of the Third New York Regiment on 28 March 1776. He was praised for his performance during the battle at White Plains on 28 October 1776. Having been superceded by his rival Colonel Philip Van Cortlandt and convinced that the patriots were on the verge of defeat, Ritzema deserted to the British in November 1776. He held the rank of lieutenant colonel, but little more is known about Ritzema's life after his defection. He died in 1795.
SEE ALSO Canada Invasion.
Ritzema, Rudolphus. "Journal of Colonel Rudolphus Ritzema of the First New York Regiment, August 8, 1775 to March 30, 1776." Magazine of American History 1 (1877): 98-107.
revised by Michael Bellesiles
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