Thaddeus Kosciuszko is born on February 12  in the Brest region of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.



Kosciuszko joins the first class at The Royal Knight School, Poland’s military academy. Kosciuszko is 19 years old.

For a comprehensive biography of the life of Kosciuszko, see The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and The Age of Revolution by Alex Storozynski.



Kosciuszko enrolls at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Paris. During this period he is tutored by professors at the Ecole Militaire, the military engineering academy, in methods of constructing various fortifications for battle.

Kosciuszko arrives in America and introduces himself to Benjamin Franklin. Franklin hires him as Chief Engineer to fortify Philadelphia. He then designs and builds Fort Mercer in Red Bank, New Jersey on the Delaware River. Kosciuszko is 30 years old.

General Horatio Gates asks Kosciuszko to review fortifications plans at Ticonderoga. Kosciuszko recommends arming Mount Defiance but his plans are not implemented. He goes on to design and build three redoubts to protect the southern exposure.

Ticonderoga falls to the British, but many rebel soldiers stay alive during the retreat because of a floating log bridge designed by Kosciuszko. He further stymies the British pursuit by felling trees, destroying bridges, rerouting streams to flood roadways and rolling boulders into creeks.


At Saratoga, Kosciuszko designs and builds a
series of fortifications and strategically positions cannons above the Hudson River at Bemis Heights. The British are defeated and Saratoga becomes the turning point in the Revolution.

In a conversation with the surgeon Benjamin Rush, General Gates is quoted as saying

“ Stop, Doctor, stop, let us be honest. In war, as in medicine, natural causes not under our control, do much. In the present case, the great tacticians of the campaign were hills and forests, which a young Polish engineer was skillful enough to select for my encampment.”


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