Sunday, July 9, 2017

Green Bed Chamber

Schuyler describes parterre gardens in the French style to the
south of the house (image from OldHouseOnline). These gardens
would have provided a view to the guests of the Formal Parlor
and Green Bedchamber, as well as a recreational area where
guests could take strolls and have lively conversations in the
beauty of nature. Burgoyne described such walks during his stay.



This was considered the best bedchamber of the house due to the elegant woodwork and furnishings, the sunlight it receives throughout the day, and the views - the rolling pastures which led to the Hudson River to the east, and the 200ft by 200ft formal parterre gardens which would have laid to the south. This room was used by Philip and Catharine but could also be given over to their most esteemed guests, like Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, the Marquis de Chastellux, and British General John Burgoyne.
Image result for john burgoyne american revolution
British General John Burgoyne
by Joshua Reynolds. Virtually
unknown for his military career
in England, John Burgoyne
was a famous poet and playwright
  before and after fighting
in the American Revolution.
Burgoyne's stay is particularly intriguing and well documented, as he was taken as "Prisoner Guest" after his surrender to General Horatio Gates at Saratoga. Much of the battle of Saratoga took place on Schuyler's industrial estate in Bemis Heights (Schuylerville) by his design, and since many of his buildings were burned as part of Burgoyne's attack, Schuyler stayed back at that property while Burgoyne, along with an entourage of other prisoners, French and Continental officers, aides-de-camp, and other personnel, were escorted to the Albany home and placed under Catharine's care. Despite their status as prisoners, Catharine treated Burgoyne and the other captured officers as esteemed guests, surrendered the nicest rooms in the house to them, fed them multiple course meals, and treated them with respect and dignity. This "gentlemanly" treatment was an expectation of warfare of the period, and benefited Schuyler and wealthy officers like him, who hoped to be treated the same should they be captured by the British. The chaos described on Catharine's behalf - as Continental (American) troops stationed in the farmland uprooted crops, stole fruits and vegetables, ate the laying hens, and milked the dairy cows, making it difficult for her to supply the visitor's inside - did not seem to phase Burgoyne, who later described the stay as pleasant and purportedly sent a pair of shoe-buckles back to 3rd daughter Peggy, as thanks for the friendship extended to him during his stay (the buckles in question are on display in the Visitor's Center).
Image result for schuyler house
Philip Schuyler's house in Bemis Heights (Schuylerville), as rebuilt by Schuyler after the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. The house still stands and is open to the public seasonally as part of the Saratoga National Battlefield Park operated by the National Park Service. Philip spent the fall of 1777 rebuilding while Burgoyne and co. were sent to Schuyler's Albany home.
Philip and Catharine would also invite guests to share more intimate meals with them in this room.

Philip’s personal attendant, an enslaved man named Prince, would have assisted Philip with his morning and evening toilette, pouring hot water into the wash basin, combing and powdering Philip’s hair (a lengthy process in itself), and assisting him with his garments. Catharine would have had a similar attendant, perhaps a woman referred to as "CatyBetty" (Caty's Betty) in letters and receipts.

The medicine chest on the floor is representative of Schuyler’s poor health, for which he was regularly treated by Dr. Samuel Stringer. Stringer’s treatments included bleeding and purging, the use of “Peruvian Bark”, an early form of quinine for fevers, opium as a pain killer, and an early oxygen machine for Philip’s use. [Read about Dr. Stringer in the Revolution.]

As You Exit:

You will pass through the Salon

Straight ahead you will find the Yellow Chamber

Diagonal from this room is the Blue Chamber

Left will bring you downstairs to the Back Hall

Other Rooms:

Library (Downstairs)

Dining Chamber (Downstairs)

Central Hall (Downstairs)

Formal Parlor (Downstairs)

Family Parlor (Downstairs)

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