Birthday: February 4, 1746
Nationality: American, Lithuanian, Polish
Died At Age: 71
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Also Known As: Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko
Born Country: Poland
Born in: Mereczowszczyzna
Famous as: Political Leader
father: Ludwik Tadeusz Kościuszko
mother: Tekla Kościuszko
siblings: Anna Estkowa, Józef Kościuszko, Katarzyna Żółkowska
Died on: October 15, 1817
education: Corps of Cadets (Warsaw), Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture
awards: Order of Cincinnati
Who was Tadeusz Kościuszko?
Tadeusz Kościuszko was a Polish-Lithuanian politician who gained fame for participating in the American Revolutionary War. As a leader of the Polish National Armed Forces, he battled for the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth against Prussia and Russia and became a national hero. Born in a noble family in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Kościuszko attended the Corps of Cadets in Poland. His outstanding abilities attracted King Stanisław II Augustus Poniatowski’s attention and he was eventually sent to Paris to study. After returning to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth after its First Partition, he took a job as a tutor. However, Kościuszko ended up relocating to France again after he was beaten for eloping with his employer's daughter. In 1776, he moved to the United States where he became engaged in the American Revolutionary War. After the Polish–Russian War resulted in Poland’s Second Partition, the commander of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Army campaigned against Russia in 1794. His army’s defeat led to his capture. He was eventually pardoned, following which he immigrated to USA. He spent his later years in Switzerland and died in 1817, at the age of 71.
Childhood & Early Life
Tadeusz Kościuszko was born on 4 February 1746, in a manor house in Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (currently Kosava, Belarus) in Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
His father, Ludwik Tadeusz Kościuszko, worked in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Army, while his mother, Tekla, was probably a housewife. He had a few siblings, including a brother named Józef and a sister, Anna.
In 1755, Kościuszko started attending school in the Polish town of Lyubeshiv. However, he could not complete his studies due to his family’s financial constraints as his father died in 1758.
He, however, was made to attend Corps of Cadets for being the son of a military officer. After graduating in 1766, Kościuszko was promoted to the rank of chorąży and later attained the rank of captain.
After the commencement of civil war in 1768, he left Poland. The following year, he was granted a royal scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture.
Kościuszko returned to his country in 1774 and took a job of a tutor at the house of the province governor, Józef Sylwester Sosnowski, where he fell in love with his daughter.
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The American Revolutionary War
Tadeusz Kościuszko moved to America in 1776 after learning about the American Revolution. He was subsequently commissioned in the Continental Army as a colonel of engineers.
His first task was to build fortifications at New Jersey’s Fort Billingsport to protect Delaware River from the British.
In 1777, he joined the Northern Army and was eventually posted at Fort Ticonderoga. To save the fort, he recommended the creation of a battery on a high point overlooking the fort. After Brigadier General Arthur St. Clair turned down this recommendation, the British army placed artillery on the hill.
Kościuszko then compelled his officers to destroy bridges, block streams, and chop the trees to slow down the British troops. He also laid out an array of defenses. This frustrated the British at the Battle of Saratoga and they eventually surrendered in October.
In 1780, Tadeusz Kościuszko moved to North Carolina where he was retained as Nathanael Greene’s chief engineer.
He contributed to the southern campaign by building bateaux and scouting river crossings which proved to be beneficial during the "Race to the Dan" where Greene was chased by British General Charles Cornwallis.
Kościuszko's accurate scouting of the rivers and bateaux helped his army cross the rivers. In1781, he rejoined the main body of the Southern American Army.
His efforts along with the tactics of the army eventually forced the British to move back to their nation. Later, Kościuszko became engaged in the Second Battle of Camden.
On 14 November 1782, he received his last battlefield command of the war in South Carolina during the Battle of James Island.
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Following the war, he was inducted into the American Philosophical Society and the Society of the Cincinnati.
In August 1784, Tadeusz Kościuszko reached Poland and earned a royal commission as a major general in the army.
On 3 May 1791, a new Polish Constitution was formed which received criticism from the Commonwealth's neighbors. The following year, the opposition formed the Targowica Confederation and asked for Russia’s favor to overthrow the constitution.
On 18 May 1792, the Russian army came to Poland and began the Polish–Russian War. During the war, Kościuszko protected the main army's rear. His efforts later earned him Poland's highest military decoration, Virtuti Militari.
On 18 July 1792, his forces fought the Russian army at the Battle of Dubienka where he skillfully used field fortifications. At the end of the war, he became popular as one of the most brilliant Polish military officers the country had ever produced.
Following the war, King Stanisław II Augustus Poniatowski announced Kościuszko’s accession to the Targowica Confederation. Kościuszko eventually resigned in August 1792 and moved to Paris.
On 23 March 1794, Tadeusz Kościuszko entered Poland and announced an uprising the following day. He prepared his forces and acted as the commander-in-chief of the Polish–Lithuanian army.
In April, his forces defeated the Russians at Racławice. Soon, Kościuszko declared the Proclamation of Połaniec that stated the abolishment of serfdom from Poland.
In October, Kościuszko was eventually captured by the Russians and was subsequently imprisoned. His uprising ended with the Battle of Praga, which was followed by the Third Partition of Poland.
Later Life & Death
Following the death of Russian empress Tsaritsa Catherine the Great in 1796, the new emperor, Tsar Paul I, who hated Catherine, pardoned Kościuszko.
Kościuszko eventually immigrated to USA. After spending some time there, he moved back to Europe and arrived in France in 1798.
In 1807, he settled in château de Berville, distancing himself from politics. He even declined to join the new army under Napoleon Bonaparte.
After the fall of Napoleon, Kościuszko met with Russia's Tsar Alexander I who convinced him to return to Poland.
In 1817, Kościuszko requested Tsar Alexander to release the peasants in his remaining Polish lands, but Alexander declined the request.
On 15 October 1817, Kościuszko died in Switzerland at the age of 71.
Family & Personal Life
Tadeusz Kościuszko is believed to have secretly married Józef Sylwester Sosnowski’s daughter, Ludwika.