General Thaddeus Kosciuszko (1746-1817)

Freedom Fighter for Poland
American Revolutionary War Hero
and Founder of West Point

Milestones in the Life of Kosciuszko

February 4, 1746 Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kosciuszko was born in Poland, the son of Ludwik Tadeusz Kosciuszko, and of Tekla, nee Ratomska.

1755-1760 Attended the school in Lubieszow.

December 18, 1765 Entered the Corps of Cadets in Warsaw, where after a year he received an officer’s brevet; became instructor taking part in engineering courses.

Fall, 1769 Left for France on a royal scholarship to pursue art and engineering studies.

1774 After a tour of England, Italy, Switzerland and Germany, returned to Poland.

1775 After an unsuccessful love affair with Ludwika Sosnowska, he left for France again.

August, 1776 Arrived in Marblehead (near Boston, Mass.) and went to Philadelphia to offer George Washington his services in the struggle for freedom of the United States. On October 18, was appointed an engineer with the rank of colonel in the American Army.

Oct., 1776-April, 1777 Fortified Philadelphia

August-Sept., 1777 Fortified hills near Saratoga, NY, before a battle which became a turning point in the War of Independence.

1778-1780 Fortified the fortress in West Point, NY.

1780-1782 As chief engineer in General Green’s army, he took part in its campaigns in the south of the United States.

1783 After more than six years of service, he was appointed Brigadier-General in the American army and was awarded the Cincinnati Order.

July, 1784 After a stay of eight years he left the United States and returned to Poland.

1784-1789 Retired from public life, spending most of his time on the small family estate of Siechnowicze (near Brest Litovsk in Polesie).

October 12, 1789 Appointed major-general of the Crown troops.

1792 Took part in the Polish-Russian war in defense of the May 3rd Constitution, commanding the Polish forces in the Battle of Dubienka (July 18); awarded the Virtuti Militari Order; after cessation of the hostilities he resigned (July 30) and then emigrated.

1793 In emigration (mainly in Leipzig and Dresden), maintaining contacts with the conspirators in Poland preparing the out-break of an insurrection.

March 24, 1794 Took command of the insurrection proclaiming in Cracow as Commander in Chief of the National Armed Forces; fought the first battles near Raclawice (April 4, with Russians), near Szczekociny (June 6, with Russians and Prussians); defended besieged Warsaw (July-September); suffered defeat near Maciejowice (October 10) where, seriously wounded, he was taken prisoner by the Russians.

1795-1796 In captivity in Petersburg and, on release, left Russia.

1797 Via Finland and Sweden he arrived in Great Britain from where he left for the United States.

1798 After a year’s stay in the United States, he returned to Paris, France.

1800 In Paris, a political brochure came out entitled “Can the Poles Win Independence?”, containing Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s thoughts about the possibility of independence using the nation’s own forces.

1806 Rejected Napoleon’s proposal to form Polish units under his auspices.

1801-1815 Stayed at Berville, near Paris.

1815-1817 Spent the last years of his life in Soleure, Switzerland, where on October 15, 1817, after a brief illness, he died at the age of 72. He is buried in Wawel Castle, in Krakow, Poland, among the tombs of the Polish Kings.


The Will of General Kosciuszko

Kosciuszko Tribute Ceremony

Thaddeus Kosciuszko History

Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial


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