Celebrating | Casimir Pulaski

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Casimir Pulaski was both a Polish and American patriot. He loved freedom and was willing to die for it. How much do you know about him?

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Born in Warsaw, Casimir Pulaski grew up being both interested in both politics and the military. He first served under Duke Charles of Courland. Then, he joined ranks with his father who was revolting against Russian domination of Poland. But, Russia proved too strong, the family lands were confiscated, and Casimir Pulaski left for Paris.

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When Franklin served as Ambassador to France, he befriended Count Pulaski. Franklin wrote, “Count Pulaski of Poland, an officer famous throughout Europe for his bravery…might be highly useful to our country.”

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The Continental Congress granted Pulaski the rank of Brigadier General in the cavalry. Pulaski organized the Continental cavalry into a well-disciplined and efficient force. Brigadier General Pulaski won a number of military campaigns. He once wrote Washington: “I came here, where freedom is being defended, to serve it, and to live or die for it.”

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On October 9th, 1779, during the siege of Savannah, Pulaski was mortally wounded by cannon fire. Legend has it that the British were so impressed by his bravery that they allowed him to be carried from the battlefield. Brigadier General Pulaski died aboard the American ship, Wasp, on October 11th, 1779.

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Casimir Pulaski Day is only celebrated in Illinois. So If you do not have school on the first Monday of March, you can thank Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski.