Casimir Pulaski, Father of the American Cavalry

*HISTORY OF CASIMIR PULASKI Casimir Pulaski, the oldest son of Count Joseph Pulaski, was born in March, 1748. At the age of fifteen, he joined his father and other members of the Polish nobility in opposing the Russian and Prussian interference of Polish political affairs.

Outlawed by Russia for his actions on behalf of Polish liberty, he traveled to Paris where he met Benjamin Franklin. Franklin convinced him to support the colonies against England in the American Revolution.

Pulaski impressed with the ideals of a new nation struggling to be free, volunteered his services. Franklin wrote to George Washington describing the young Pole as an officer, renowned throughout Europe for the courage and bravery he displayed in defense of his country¹s freedom.

In 1777, Pulaski arrived in Philadelphia where he met General Washington, Commander-in -Chief of the Continental Army. Later at Brandywine, he came to the aid of Washington's forces and distinguished himself as a brilliant military tactician. For his efforts, Congress appointed him Brigadier-General in charge of Four Horse Brigades. Then again, at the battles of Germantown and Valley Forge, Pulaski's knowledge of warfare assisted Washington and his men.

Later in 1778, through Washington's intervention, Congress approved the establishment of the Cavalry and put Pulaski at its head. The Father of the American Cavalry demanded much of his men and trained them in tested cavalry tactics. He used his own personal finances, when money from Congress was scarce, in order to assure his forces of the finest equipment and personal safety.

Pulaski and his legion were then ordered to defend Little Egg Harbor in New Jersey and Minisink on the Delaware and then south to Charleston, South Carolina. However, it was at the battle of Savannah in 1779 that General Pulaski, riding forth into battle on his horse, fell to the ground mortally wounded by the blast of cannon. It is said, the General's enemies were so impressed with his courage, that they spared his life and permitted him to be carried from the battlefield. However, two days later, on October 11 Pulaski died.

Today all over the United States there are memorials for Casimir Pulaski. Many parks, streets, statues, and our school bear his name in memory of his courage and commitment to freedom. We are proud to be named the Casimir Pulaski Elementary School.

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Note: This page is under continuously under development, comments and suggestions should be addressed to:jgomes@newbedford.k12.ma.us Last updated 11/26/02