The American Revolution in North Carolina

Brigadier General Count Kasimir Pulaski

Biography from Benson J. Lossing in his Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution [with minor edits]:

Count Casimir Pulaski was a native of Lituania in Poland. He was educated for the law but stirring military events had their influence upon his mind and he entered the army. With his father, the old Count Pulaski, he was engaged in the rebellion against Stanislaus, king of Poland, in 1769. The old count was taken prisoner and put to death.

In 1770, the young Count Casimir was elected commander-in-chief of the insurgents, but was not able to collect a competent force to act efficiently, for a pestilence had swept off 250,000 Poles the previous year. In 1771, himself and thirty-nine others entered Warsaw, disguised as peasants, for the purpose ot seizing the king. The object was to place him at the head of the army, force him to act in that position, and call around him the Poles to beat back the Russian forces which Catharine had sent against them. They succeeded in taking him from his carriage in the streets and carrying him out of the city, but they were obliged to leave him not far from the walls and to escape.

Pulaski's little army was soon afterward defeated and he entered the service of the Turks, who were fighting Russia. His estates were confiscated, himself outlawed. He went to Paris, had an interview with Dr. Franklin, and came to America in 1777.

He joined the army under Washington and was placed in command of cavalry. His legion did good service at the North. Early in the spring of 1778 he was ordered to Little Egg Harbor on the New Jersey coast. His force consisted of cavary and infantry with a single field piece from Proctor's artillery. While on his way from Trenton to Little Egg Harbor and when within eight miles of the coast he was surprised by a party of British and a large portion of his infantry was bayonetted. Julien, a deserted from his corps, had given information of his position - the surprise was complete. His loss was forty men, among them Lieutenant-colonel Baron De Botzen.

Pulaski was ordered to the South in February of 1779 and was in active service under Lincoln until the Siege of Savannah, in October of that year, where he was mortally wounded. His banner was preserved and carried to Baltimore. He was taken to the United States brig Wasp, where he died, and was buried under a large tree on St. Helen's Island, about fifty miles from Savannah, by his first lieutenant and personal friend, Charles Litomiski.

Funeral honors were paid to his memory at Charlestown, and on November 29, 1779, Congress voted the erection of a monument to his memory. Like other monuments ordered by the Continental Congress, the stone for Pulaski is yet in the quarry.

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