Monday, May 30, 2011

An American Hero

In August of1776, a man, 30 years of age,volunteered, to fight for American Independence from Britain.

Very soon after he signed up, he was name head engineer of the "Continental Army," the army that was established by the thirteen colonies to fight the American Revolutionary War. While he was in Pennsylvania, working with the Continental Army, he had a chance to read The Declaration of Independence.

Upon reading the Declaration of Independence, he was so moved, that he asked to meet Thomas Jefferson, the man who penned this document that he felt represented so much of what he believed.

He met Thomas Jefferson a few months later, and the two men quickly became the best of friends. Often spending much time together at Jefferson's home, Monticello, discussing philosophy, politics, and other common interests.

The young man was quite adept at his job as head engineer. His first task was the fortification of places such as Philadelphia, the banks of the Delaware River and several forts along the Canadian border.

Several of his ideas as head engineer were key in helping turn the tide of the war from British victory to the Americans. His work at Saratoga was indeed the real turning point of the Revolutionary War when a notable British General surrendered and just a few months later led to the alliance with France that led to the end of the war.

He was thereafter regarded as one the best engineers in American service. George Washington noticed him and gave him the task of fortifying the strongholds at West Point. It was his defenses at West Point that the infamous Benedict Arnold tried to pass to the British Army, without success. Soon after, he requested to help fight in the South of America, where he caught his first glimpse of slavery. An issue that he an Jefferson never agreed on.

This young man served seven years with the American Army, offering his expertise and loyalty to help defeat the British and establish American independence. After seven years he left America to help other countries fight for their own independence. He left a last will and testament with Thomas Jefferson as to what should be done with his land and assets in America when he died.

His will stated that all his assets, land, monies from the land, etc. should be divided up and used to buy freedom and education for as many slaves as possible, even Jefferson's own slaves. Although it was clearly stated what he wished, over time and many court proceedings, his last wishes were never carried out and not a single dollar or piece of land was used to better the life of even a single slave.

Thomas Jefferson called him "as pure a son of Liberty as I have ever known."

Napoleon Bonaparte called him "the hero of the North."

French Historian Jules Michelet called him, "the last knight."

Catherine the Great called him, " a beast."

His name was Tadeusz Kosciuszko. A Polish man, who fought for American Independence.