Saving Washington - Casimir Pulaski's Legion
Casimir Pulaski was one of two men who could be considered the Polish Founding Father.
More importantly, he was one of two men who could be considered the Father of the American Cavalry (the other was yesterday’s subject, Michael Kovats).
Much like Kovats, Pulaski’s time as a Founder was extremely short as he too would be killed on the job.
The Bar Confederation
In 1767, Poland was in disarray.
Unhappy with their subjugation to Russian rule, a handful of nobles fomented a rebellion.
They formed the Bar Confederation and began fighting a revolutionary war.
Among these rebels was Casimir Pulaski.
Just 22-years-old, Casimir Pulaski was given command of a cavalry.
His bravery and success on the battlefield led to an appointment on the War Council, which oversaw the revolution.
During this time, Pulaski was involved with an attempt to kidnap the King. The plot failed and soon thereafter the war was lost.
Casimir was forced to flee Poland.
Battle of the Brandywine
After attempting to join several European armies, Pulaski was recruited by the Marquis de Lafayette and Benjamin Franklin to join the Continental Army.
When he arrived in the United States, the Continental Congress was slow to issue him a command.
Casimir took to the field anyway and, at the Battle of the Brandywine, scouted British soldiers closing off the American retreat. Informing General Washington, Pulaski was given permission to gather troops and keep the retreat open.
His success in these efforts saved the Continental Army from an embarrassing defeat, earned him a commission as a Brigadier General and possibly saved the life of George Washington.
Pulaski was eventually sent to the Southern Department where he was named Commander of the Horse put in charge of creating a European style cavalry.
Pulaski’s Legion, as they came to be known, where the preeminent cavalry in the Continental Army and he earned the title Father of the American Cavalry.
Unfortunately, Casimir went to support the Americans in the Siege of Savannah and was killed while leading a charge, ending his career as Founder at just 34 years of age.
Want more foreign Founders?
OK, here you go:
Pulaski has several biographies.
Personally, I like the joint biography with Tadeusz Kosciuszko as it reviews the influence of the two most important Polish Officers.
If you’d like a copy you can get one through the Amazon affiliate link below (you’ll support this site, but don’t worry, Amazon pays me while your price stays the same).