The Polish captain stood out in an army bereft of military engineers, a shortage of immense concern to Washington and Congress. On 18 October 1776, Congress commissioned Kosciuszko a colonel and later authorized an Army Corps of Engineers, long delayed by the dearth of qualified candidates. The arrival of Louis Le Bègue de Presie Duportail with a coterie of French veterans hastened the Corps' formation but slowed Kosciuszko's ascent, for the two men distrusted one another. Nevertheless, Kosciuszko served with distinction throughout the war, most notably in laying out West Point's defenses, fatally slowing Gen. John Burgoyne's 1777 expedition below Ticonderoga, and selecting the battlefield for the American victory at Bemis Heights.
[See also Engineering, Military; Revolutionary War: Military and Diplomatic Course.]
Miecislaus Haiman , Kosciuszko in the American Revolution, 1972.
J. Mark Thompson
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