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It’s sometimes too easy when talking about the American Revolution to forget about the contributions of the Patriots’ foreign allies, including Hungarian-born American patriot Michael Kovats de Fabriczy, known as one of the “Fathers of the U.S. Cavalry.”

Formerly an experienced Hussar officer in the Austro-Hungarian army, Kovats, then age 53, brought with him a wealth of cavalry experience when he sailed to America in 1777.

Wholeheartedly backing the American cause, he wrote to Benjamin Franklin that same year: “The dangers and the bloodshed of a great many campaigns taught me how to mold a soldier, and, when made, how to arm him and let him defend the dearest of the lands with his best ability under any conditions and developments of the war.” He added: “… I am willing to sacrifice myself wholly and faithfully as it is expected of an honest soldier facing the hazards and great dangers of the war ….”

Signing his letter with the Latin phrase “Fidelissimus ad Mortem” (meaning “Most Faithful Unto Death”) Kovats dedicated the rest of his life to organizing and training U.S. cavalrymen.

He was killed in battle during the Siege of Charleston, South Carolina, on May 11, 1779, and was buried in an unknown location on the battlefield.

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