René Edward De Russy

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René Edward De Russy (1789-1865) - Born at sea 22 Feb 1789 near the French colony of Saint-Domingue (Haiti). A career U.S. Army officer and engineer who supervise the construction of major U.S. coastal fortifications and served as Superintendent of the United States Military Academy. Died 21 Nov 1865 while on active duty at San Francisco.

René Edward De Russy Grave Moument at West Point Cemetery

He entered the United States Military Academy and graduated in the Class of 1812 ranking 18th out of 18. He was appointed a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

He served in the War of 1812 on the Canada border and in New York including the Battles of Chrystler's Field and Plattsburg. Following the War he worked on the construction of coastal fortifications at New York Harbor and Fort Massachusetts (1) on Ship Island in the Gulf of Mexico. From 1825 to 1833 he served as Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy.

In 1838 he superintended the construction of Fort Monroe and Fort Calhoun at old Point Comfort, Virginia. He spent the next sixteen years in the construction of these two forts. In 1854 he began supervising the construction of the fortifications at San Francisco Harbor. He returned to the east coast from 1857 to 1860 at Fort Monroe, Sandy Hook and in command of the Corps of Engineers for the three years before the war.

At the beginning of the U.S. Civil War De Russy was 71 years old and because there was no retired list he was sent back to the west coast to as the superintending engineer for the defenses of the west coast and San Francisco. He died of consumption on active duty in San Francisco on 21 Nov 1865 (as recorded in the U.S. Army Death Register). He was interred in West Point Cemetery, Section 34, Row F, Grave 255.

After his death in 1865 his much younger wife Helen decided to stay in government quarters at Fort Monroe where she resided. She did not leave until November 1891. The quarters came to be known as the "De Russy House".


Father: Thomas François Benoit DeRussy (1762-1822)

Mother: Magdelaine Emilie Bessiere (1770-1843)

Marriage 1:

  • Elizabeth J. Browne (1798-1823), born 1798, married 25 Dec 1816 Connecticut, died 16 Jan 1823 New York City
    • Gustavus Adolphus De Russy (1818-1891) Brigadier General USA, born 3 Nov 1818 Brooklyn, New York, married Francis Clitz, died 29 May 1891 Detroit Michigan

Marriage 2:

Marriage 3:

  • Ann Elida Denniston (18??-184?) married 11 Apr 1837 in Albany New York
    • Issac Denniston De Russy (1840-1923) Brigadier General USA, born 1840 Fort Monroe, married Laura Requa 19 May 1891 California, died 17 Feb 1923 New York
    • Rene Edward De Russy (1844-????)

Marriage 4:

Assignments:

  • (1807-1812) Cadet, United States Military Academy
  • (1812-1815) War of 1812
    • (1812) 2nd Lt. (10 Jun 1812), 1st Lt. (6 Jul 1812)
    • (1814) Bvt. Capt. (11 Sep 1814), For Gallant Conduct at the Battle of Plattsburg, New York
    • (1815) Captain (9 Feb 1815), Chief Engineer General Macomb's Division on Lake Champlain
  • (1816-1818) Captain, U.S. Corps of Engineers, constructing Fort at Rouses Point
  • (1817‑1821) Captain, Corps of Engineers, Superintending Engineer, Defenses of New York Harbor
  • (1821-1825) Bvt. Major (11 Sep 1824), Corps of Engineers, Superintending Engineer, Defenses of the Gulf of Mexico
  • (1825-1833) Major (22 Dec 1830), Corps of Engineers, Superintending Engineer, Defenses of the New York Harbor
  • (1833-1838) Bvt. Lt. Colonel (30 Jun 1834), Corps of Engineers, Superintendent of the United States Military Academy
  • (1838-1854) Lt. Colonel (7 Dec 1838), Corps of Engineers, Superintending Engineer, Construction of Fort Monroe and Fort Calhoun
  • (1854-1857) Lt. Colonel, Corps of Engineers, Superintending Engineer, Construction at Entrance to San Francisco harbor
  • (1857-1857) Lt. Colonel, Corps of Engineers, Superintending Engineer, Construction of Fort at Ship Island
  • (1858-1861) Lt. Colonel, Command of the Corps of Engineers at Washington DC
  • (1861-1865) U.S. Civil War
    • (1861-1865) Colonel (3 Mar 1863), Brig. General (13 Mar 1865), Corps of Engineers, Superintending Engineer of Construction of the Fortifications of San Francisco harbor and the West Coast
  • (1865) Died (21 Nov 1865), in San Francisco, California


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