Thaddeus Kosciuszko is a hero on two continents.
He came to America in 1776, just as the Revolutionary War was heating up. A trained military officer and engineer, he joined the Continental Army. He designed forts and fortifications in Pennsylvania, along the Delaware and near the Canadian border.
Along the way, Kosciuszko earned the respect of President Washington, became friends with Thomas Jefferson, and was made a Brigadier General and a naturalized U.S. citizen.
In 1784, however, he decided to return to his native Poland. He brought with him ideas about democracy and the desire to reform Poland’s political landscape. He served in the Polish army during the country’s war with Russia, and was wounded during the Kosciuszko Uprising, a failed attempt to overthrow the Russian occupation.
Pardoned by the Tsar and banished from Poland in 1796, Kosciuszko returned to America and took a room in a boarding house on Society Hill, now preserved within Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial. Still recovering from his wounds, he rarely left the house, preferring to receive visitors, including Jefferson and Chief Little Turtle, in his bedchamber.
A tour of Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial introduces the life’s work of this brilliant military strategist, engineer, and advocate of democracy.