General Thaddeus Kosciusko
1746 - Born in Poland
Went to USA
1784 - Returned to Poland
1817 - Died
Thaddeus Kosciusko (1746-1817)-
Polish patriot and soldier.
His name in Polish is Tadeusz Kosciuszko, pronounced
Thaddeus Kosciusko was born in February 4, 1746 in Siechnowica, in the Eastern territories of the Kingdom of Poland.
He attended the Cadet School in Warsaw and in 1770 left to Paris to continue his studies. There, he became acquainted with the progressive ideology of the French Enlightenment. Poland was undergoing the first partition of 1772 when Kosciuszko was in France.
In 1776 Kosciuszko left for America and took part in the fight for the freedom of the North American colonies.
Young Kosciuszko joined Washington's army, and received a commission as officer of engineers.
He served with distinction through the war, and was made a brigadier general, where Congress granted him $15,000 and 500 acres of land in Ohio.
General Kosciuszko was the first of a galaxy of foreign officers to receive a commission from the Continental Congress to serve in General Washington's army.
He served under Nathaniel Greene in the southern campaign after Gates had been relieved of his command. He organized the successful blockade of Charleston.
His development of the battlements there was the decisive factor of the victory at Saratoga.
For two years afterward he worked on the fortifications at West Point.
At war's end before he would return home, Congress made him an American citizen and promoted him to the rank of brigadier general.
In 1784 Kosciuszko returned to his homeland and as an outstanding strategist, he commanded his troops during numerous battles in the war with Russia.
Kosciuszko helped organize the Polish Army, and led his country to an adoption of a new constitution, consequently into an armed uprising against the two big powers Prussia and Russia.
On March 24th Kosciuszko took his oath in Cracow: "I swear to the whole Polish nation that I shall not use the power vested in me for private oppression but that I shall exercise this power only in the defense of the whole of the frontiers and to regain the independence of the Nation and to establish universal freedom".
After several victorious battles in October, 1794, the Polish forces suffered a defeat at Maciejowice. The commander, heavily wounded in the field, was taken prisoner. Kosciuszko remained in Russia as a prisoner until 1796 and was released on the condition he would never return to Poland.
In 1806 Napoleon wished him to join in the invasion of Poland, but he felt bound by his parole to Russia and refused it.
Kosciuszko died on October 15, 1817, in Solothurn, Switzerland, and his body was brought to Poland and laid to rest in the royal crypt at Wawel Castle in Cracow. In his will he left his money and property for freeing and educating slaves.
Thaddeus Kosciusko was described by Thomas Jefferson as the "Purest son of Liberty", and George Washington commented that "He served America with courage and distinction".
He is called The Father of West Point and the Father of American Artillery.
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