Henry Bell Van Rensselaer

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Henry Bell Van Rensselaer
Henry Bell Van Rensselaer.jpg
Born (1810-05-14)May 14, 1810
Albany, New York
Died March 23, 1864(1864-03-23) (aged 53)
Cincinnati, Ohio
Place of burial Grace Episcopal Churchyard, Jamaica, Queens, New York City, New York
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch Union Army
Years of service 1831 - 1832, 1861 - 1864
Rank Colonel
Battles/wars American Civil War

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, and served as a military aide to Governor William H. Seward from 1839 to 1840.

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 colonel in the Union Army, and was appointed chief of staff to General Winfield Scott. He served as an inspector general from November 1861 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 (father of David Crosby) and Jane Wyatt.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Susan Lyman (1976). Rails Into Racquetteville. The Norwood Historical Association. 
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Fine
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 14th congressional district

March 4, 1841 – March 3, 1843
Succeeded by
Charles Rogers