Casimir Pulaski was born in Poland in 1747. He came to America in 1777, after fighting for Poland’s independence, and joined forces with General Washington. After saving Washington’s life, Pulaski was made brigadier general of the American Cavalry. Wounded in battle, Pulaski died on October 11, 1779.
Casimir Pulaski Day: March 4. Enacted April 30, 1987, from the 1987 Laws of Wisconsin, Act 11. When an observance day falls on a Saturday or Sunday during the school year, it should be observed on the preceding Friday or the following Monday.
Casimir Pulaski grew up in the struggle of Polish patriots against the neighboring powers that sought to annex or assert control over what was at the time the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. By the time he was 22, he was fighting against the new Polish King Stanislaw II, who was seen by many as a puppet of the Russians. Pulaski became an important cavalry officer in a series of wars. But by 1775, the conflict had gone badly for the Polish patriots, and he was exiled to France. There he met the Marquis de Lafayette and Benjamin Franklin, who recruited him to come to America, to fight in the Revolutionary War.
Columbia College historian Dominic Pacyga says Pulaski considered the American Colonists’ fight for independence from Great Britain as similar to Poland’s own struggle for independence.
“There was this revolutionary spirit, the Enlightenment was going on, soon there was going to be the French Revolution,” he says. “So a lot of people were wrapped up in this revolutionary fervor that was going through the West at this time, and they ended up in the United States.”
Some facts: American soldiers balked at the idea of fighting under a “foreign” officer. So, in March of 1778, Congress organized the Pulaski Legion, which was made up of mostly “foreign” soldiers — Colonists and volunteers from France, Germany, and Poland. Pulaski’s Legion turned the tide at the skirmish at Egg Harbor, New York. In May, they drove the British out of Charleston, South Carolina.
But just a few months later, Pulaski died from a mortal wound he received in Savannah, Georgia. In the Early Republic, Pulaski was remembered as a Revolutionary hero, alongside his friend, the Marquis de Lafayette. Several new towns and counties were named “Pulaski” in his memory.
Source: wisconsin.gov | wbez.org