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- September 27, 2011 at 12:57 am #342219
[size=14pt]Casimir Pulaski, Father of American Cavalry[/size]
Polish General Pulaski Led Cavalry in U.S. Revolutionary War
Count Kazimierz Pułaski, or Casimir Pulaski, was one of the heroes of the American Revolution, but before that, he fought for freedom in his native Poland.
Kazimierz Pułaski was born March 6, 1745 in Warsaw to a noble Polish family. His father, Józef Pułaski, was the Starosta, or District Magistrate, of the town of Warka. White Palace of Winiary in Warka became the Pułaski family home upon Józef’s marriage to the heiress Marianna Zielinska, whose family owned the palace. Renovated in 1967, the palace now serves as the Kazimierz Pułaski Museum.
The Bar Confederation in Poland
In 1768, both Kazimierz and his father were instrumental in creating in the Bar Confederation, a group of Polish nobles dedicated to driving out the Russian forces controlling Poland prior to the First Partition of 1772. Over several years, the Confederation succeeded in several major battles against the Russians, with Pulaski emerging as an accomplished military commander. However, in 1771, Pulaski was apparently involved in a failed attempt to capture the Russian-controlled king, at which point the Confederation was disbanded and Pulaski fled to France to avoid execution.
Pulaski in America
In France he met Lafayette, who persuaded him to come to America to fight in the Revolutionary War. Benjamin Franklin, too, supported Pulaski’s interest in coming as a volunteer in the American cavalry, saying that Pulaski "was renowned throughout Europe for the courage and bravery he displayed in defense of his country's freedom." Once in America, Pulaski wrote to George Washington, “I came here, where freedom is being defended, to serve it, and to live or die for it.”
His first military engagement in America was in September 1777, when he fought at the Battle of Brandywine. His actions there, which kept the Americans from defeat and General Washington from probable death, earned him a promotion to the rank of Brigadier General of the American cavalry.
The Pulaski Cavalry Legion
He was later authorized to develop the Pulaski Cavalry Legion, which was composed mostly of European soldiers, and was one of the few cavalry regiments in the Continental Army. Much of the funding for the Legion was provided directly by Pulaski. He has been called “Father of the American Cavalry” for his contribution in creating a well-trained mounted fighting force for the Revolution.
The Legion gained its greatest renown in 1779 by successfully evicting the British forces occupying Charleston. The Legion then went on to fight at the October 11 Battle of Savannah, during which Pulaski was mortally wounded. He was taken aboard the privateer merchant brigantine Wasp and died two days later. For many years it was thought that he had been buried at sea, but later research showed he had been brought ashore and buried near Savannah, Georgia.
The Savannah Monument to Pulaski
After the war, the citizens of Savannah decided to honor Pulaski with a monument, and in 1825 a cornerstone was laid in Savannah's Chippewa Square. However, no further action was taken until 1855, when a monument was finally erected in Monterey Square. Made of white marble, it stands 55 feet and is topped with a statue of “Lady Liberty.”
The monument stood undisturbed until 1996, when it was renovated, at which time the underground crypt was opened and found to contain an iron box labeled "Brigadier General Casimer Pulaski." By 1970, using archeological and forensic evidence, it was verified that the remains in the box were those of Pulaski. Finally, in September 2005 his remains were re-interred in a white marble crypt in front of his monument in Monterey Square.
Washington, D.C. Honors Pulaski
Although the Continental Congress voted in 1779 to erect a monument in Washington, D.C. in Pulaski’s honor, it was not created until 1910. This sculpture, at Freedom Plaza, shows General Pulaski on horseback. In March 2007 the U.S. Congress passed a resolution that made Pulaski an honorary U.S. citizen, and a birthday celebration was held on Capitol Hill.
General Pulaski, Hero of the American Revolution
Pulaski has been honored all across America: there are monuments, towns, streets, bridges, and schools named for him, and often a “Pulaski Day” celebration is scheduled around October 11, the anniversary of his death. New York City has a “Pulaski Day Parade” on the first Sunday in October. Other cities, especially those with special ties to Pulaski, hold observances to mark his contributions to the United States, and in places where large numbers of Americans of Polish descent have settled, Pulaski Day is also celebrated.
Fighter for Freedom in Two Countries
Not only did Pulaski fight for American independence; he fought for Polish independence, too. In Poland, as in America, he is remembered as a patriot and a hero; there are monuments and remembrances of him all over his native country as well as his adopted one.[img width=485 height=700]http://images.suite101.com/1544378_com_countcasim.jpg”/>September 27, 2011 at 10:54 am #364280
Great thread! Though can he really be called "Father of American cavalry"? Was his influence that big?September 27, 2011 at 8:05 pm #364281
Without the Pulaski, the Continental Army headed by George Washington would have been not much more than a very determined and fairly large militia. There were virtually no professional soldiers in the Thirteen Colonies other than British Units, who obviously would oppose revolution against the English Crown. So, yeah, Pulaski's input was vital – he trained the men and even used some of his own finances to do so. "The Father of the American Cavalry" is an unofficial title given to him by American historians. So make of that what you will.
Also, with Thaddeus Kosciuszko (as he is known in the US) the Continental Army would have no military engineer. Kosciuszko fortified Philadelphia harbor (then the main harbor) and build several key forts including West Point, which now serves as the US Army's Officers' School and there is a "Kosciuszko Garden" there.
It's a great irony of history, but as Poland fell into darkness and off the map, Poles helped create another nation, which today is know as the United States. The Polish Constitution of May 3rd is also based on the US Constitution. Kosciuszko was good friends with Thomas Jefferson. If you look at Jefferson's official portrait, he is wearing a Russian winter coat, the one Kosciuszko gave him! I'll post more on Kosciuszko soon.
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