Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Webpage: National Park

General Description: Thaddeus Koscuiszko was a Polish military engineer and military hero that became a national hero in Poland, Belarus, and the United States.  In 1776, he moved to the Americas to join the American Revolution, given the rank of Colonel in the Continental Army.  He was sympathetic to the American cause and an advocate of human rights.   His first task was to build fortifications at Fort Billingsport in Philadelphia to protect the approach from the Delaware River.  In the spring of 1777 we was assigned to Major General Horatio Gates and posted to Fort Ticonderoga.  After reviewing the defenses he recommended the construction of a battery on Sugar Loaf which overlooked the fort.  His recommendation was denied which was a tactical mistake since the British did construct a battery on Sugar Loaf forcing the abandonment of Fort Ticonderoga in May, 1777.  The British were hot on the heals of the Patriots when Kosciuszko was tasked with delaying the British.  He devised an engineering solution of felling trees, destroying bridges, and flooding streams by constructing dams.  His efforts successfully bogged down the British allowing the Patriots to withdraw across the Hudson River.  It was his defensive design that frustrated the British leading to their surrender at the Battle of Saratoga.  In March 1778, he arrived at West Point and spent two years strengthening the defenses.  From there he moved on to the Southern region and designed the trenches and rifle platform that besieged the star fort at Ninety-Six in South Carolina.  In 1784 he returned with his dreams of freedom to Poland ultimately being a leader in the Polish-Russian War of 1792.  He returned to the new United States in 1797 to a hero’s welcome in Philadelphia.  The National Memorial commemorates his contributions during the Revolutionary War of the national hero.  The site are the rooms he occupied in the boarding house in Philadelphia that he lived in after returning to Philadelphia.

Brochure

Impressions:

1) Since this is the smallest National Historic Site in the National Park System, the Visitor Center is the entryway of the house.

BoardingHouse

2) Thaddeus Kosciuszko room was on the second floor which has been restored to what it looked like while he was in residence.  They did a good job providing information about the various items in the room including an old newspaper from the time.

3) The rest of the house has been turned into a small museum giving his background and later accomplishments.  I especially like the interactive display they had that shows all the memorials, statues, streets, and cities named for him in the US and Europe, especially Poland.  He was certainly a man who believed strongly in freedom and human rights and devoted his entire career to this pursuit.

Portrait

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