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Van Schaick, Gose

Van Schaick, Gose

VAN SCHAICK, GOSE. (1736–1789). Continental officer. New York. Also known as Goosen and Gosen. Van Schaick was born in Albany on 15 September 1736. He was the son of Sybrant Van Schaick, Albany's mayor from 1756 to 1761. A lieutenant in the Crown Point expedition of 1756 and a militia captain with Bradstreet in the capture of Fort Frontenac in 1758, he was promoted to lieutenant in 1760. He served first with the Second New York Provincials and then with the First New York Regiment in the final operations of the Seven Years' War.

Van Schaick was a member of the Albany Committee of Safety at the beginning of the Revolution. He was commissioned colonel of the Second New York on 28 June 1775, joining Montgomery on Lake Champlain with four hundred men in September for the Canada invasion, though they were limited to outpost duty. The next spring he was stationed at Johnstown in the Mohawk Valley as commander of the First New York. He was wounded at Ticonderoga on 6 July 1777. In the Battle of Monmouth in New Jersey on 28 June 1778, he commanded a brigade under William Alexander.

The operation for which he is best known is the raid against the Onondagas in April 1779, which preceded Sullivan's expedition. He left Fort Stanwix with 550 men and in a march of 180 miles in five and a half days destroyed a neutral Onondaga village of about 50 houses, took 37 prisoners, killed 15 Indians, picked up 100 muskets, and returned without losing a man. For this achievement in defeating a previously nonhostile group of Indians, he was given the "Thanks of Congress" on 10 May 1779. He was in command at Albany while General James Clinton accompanied Sullivan'sexpedition. As part of Clinton's division, he marched south for the Yorktowncampaign. Van Schaick spent much of the war arguing questions of seniority and seeking promotion. On 10 October 1783 he was brevetted brigadier general, and the next month he retired from the Continental army. He died of facial cancer in Albany on 4 July 1789.

SEE ALSO Sullivan's Expedition against the Iroquois.


Egly, T. W., Jr. Goose Van Schaik of Albany, 1736–1789: The Continental Army's Senior Colonel. United States: T.W. Egly, 1992.

                              revised by Michael Bellesiles

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