Today as I was performing my regular tasks, of creating content for the website, creating listings, reading up on the day's news and just generally immersing myself in the ideas, values and teachings of our founders and the men they took inspiration from, I came across an unfamiliar name.
Tadeusz Kosciuszki (a mouthful for us English speaking Americans), was polish last name pronounced KOS-CHOOS-KO. After coming across this image and a short description I was intrigued by this person, someone I cannot remember reading about. I imagine a few of you reading may know of him and may be laughing at my obvious ignorance. I digress, Tadeusz was a Polish born military mastermind and was gifted with an eye for engineering. More importantly Tadeusz was a freedom fighter, a champion of enlightenment ideas and values such as independence, liberty and democracy; all ideals that directly aligned with those of the American Patriots and their revolutionary movement.
Tadeusz was born into a minor house of Polish nobility with a history of military service to its homeland. He would go on to enroll at the Korpus Kadetów or Corps of Cadets at what is now Warsaw University. Here he would be educated in liberal arts, military tradition.l. After graduating he would obtain the equivalent rank of Lieutenant and would eventually be promoted to the rank of Captain. Later, he would go on to study engineering at a French university, something that would prove crucial to the American mission for independence and freedom.
Tadeusz would go on from there to be tested in the forges of war. Specifically he not only fought but led the Kosciuszko Uprising of 1794, a heroic and brave act of defiance aimed against the tyranny and foreign rule of Russia and Prussia. During that time he would successfully lead military sorties opposing the Russians and Prussians, would personally lead assaults against their enemy from the front, be injured and imprisoned. It was obvious Tadeusz was committed to freedom and liberty in his home country of Poland and would sacrifice all to attain it.
Prior to all that though, Tadeusz would emigrate temporarily to America in 1776, where the fledgling nation was just beginning its war for independence against the British tyrants. After the long journey across the Atlantic, Tadeusz would speak to Benjamin Franklin who, after having tested his knowledge, promptly employed him and would eventually give him a position of importance in the Continental Army as an officer and engineer.
During his time fighting for the American patriots Tadeusz would prove crucial in a number of major battles and events throughout the War for Independence. He would go on to lead the building of fortifications at Fort Billingsport and that would be instrumental in blocking British warships from sailing up the Delaware River.
More interestingly Tadeusz was at the battle of Fort Ticonderoga where his suggestion to fortify Sugar Loaf hill with fortifications and cannon batteries was ignored. The British went on to defeat the Patriots due to taking this very same high ground. During the ensuing retreat of American Forces. Tadeusz would again prove to be instrumental, using his quick smarts and engineering skills he was able to successfully delay British troops by felling trees, damming streams and destroying bridges and causeways. Due to his quick thinking he was able to bog the tyrant army down and allow the Americans to escape and go on to fight another day.
During the proceeding days General Horation Gates, a famous and well known American patriot and General would rely on Tadeusz to identify and survey locations where they could build defenses and oppose the British army. Tadeusz would identify a location near Saratoga at Bemis heights and would build an extensive and near impregnable defensive network that would prove exceedingly crucial in the following defeat of the British army there and the resulting surrender of the British General Burgoyne on 16 October 1777. General Gates would later posit that "The great tacticians of the campaign were hills and forests, which a young Polish engineer was skillful enough to select for my encampment."
Tadeusz was a military engineering genius and true blooded patriot and would go on to continue to be instrumental in a number of events and battles during the War for Independence. Without a doubt, without that young Polish officer the battle against British tyranny would have been much longer and harder.
It is men like this that we remember the roots of who we are, what we fight for and hopefully draw strength and inspiration. The values that defined the founding of our country transcend groups, races, cultures and backgrounds; they are values that were not given to us nor need protection, they are ones that were designed into our very existence before we were even born. In a world of evil men, tyrants and power hungry maniacs we do occasionally have to shed the sweat of our brows and possibly blood to defend that which was rightfully given to us by our Creator; there are still men and women throughout this country who are already and will stand up to take on this just, moral and righteous cause. There are still Tadeusz’s out there waking up each day to defend that which many of us have forgotten.
I hope all of you who read this, remember and draw some inspiration. As always stay non compliant.
““There is a time when you have to sacrifice everything to have everything saved”
- Tadeusz Kościuszko