Kosciuszko, Thaddeus

Kosciuszko, Thaddeus [Tadeusz Andrzej Bonawentura] (1746-1817) Polish Soldier, Military Engineer: Born into a noble but financially modest family, Kosciuszko was educated at the Royal Military School in Warsaw and the School Of Artillery and Engineering in Mezieres, France. He moved to France because of difficulties in his military career and his love life, and eventually moved to Philadelphia. In 1776, he earned a commission as colonel of engineers in the Continental Army. Kosciuszko was one of General Washington's most helpful foreign officers, introducing professionalism to the nearly amateur American army. He supervised the building of river and land fortifications in such places as West Point, as well as serving on the battlefield. Kosciuszko covered the Northern Army's retreat during the campaign of 1777, then chose the field of battle at which Burgoyne's forces would later be defeated. He was active in the Southern Department as well, although he was criticized for his role in the siege of Ninety-Six. After the Revolutionary War, Kosciuszko returned to Poland and led an uprising that proved to be short-lived.