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Mt. Pulaski , Illinois
February 16, 2011     Times
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February 16, 2011

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February l9,2011 Wade Schott provided the following speech he has given two or three times regarding Count Pulaski. Wade wrote, "It has been difficult finding much information 6n him, so my sources are just two or three books, or portions of books." Let me begin with a brief background. I'm from a very small community of 1700 in central Illinois. It Was a great place to grow up and 42 years after I left, I still count many friends who live there. Some- one asked a question one day about the man that com- munity was named after... and I didn't have an answer. So after some prodding, I determined to find out what I could about the man. Here's what I have discovered. His name was Casimir Pulaski and he gave his life for the cause of American inde- pendence. He was born to wealth and privilege, and he sacrificed wealth and privilege in the struggle for freedom: first in his native Poland, then second, in America. He sought no personal advantage nor any rewards---and he found none. His life is a story of reversals, defeats, depri- vations and disasters--but in the end, his life was very significant to people who love freedom. Casimir Pulaski was born in 1747 at the family estate in central Poland. His father was a wealthy . attorney, -landowner, businessman and politician. Although Poland was a monarchy, the people voted the king into power and Poland was. considered a "free" nation--that is, you were free if you were edu- cated, had financial means, and achieved status among the elite of the country. At the time of Casimir's birth, Poland had been untroubled by war for nearly one hundred years. However, Russia, and small German states like Bavaria and Prussia were rapidly moving toward war with Poland, which had become a very weak nation. Poland maintained only a small army, mostly for cer- emonial purposes. At the age of 6, Casimir began his formal education in a local parish school. At the age of 12 he was sent to Warsaw for high school. Then, when he was 15, Casi- mir was sent for his final training to the eastern border of Poland to learn the intri- it. Pulaski Times Casimir Pulaski: An American Patriot cacies of courtly manners, military experience. The only "to win at war, you must seize gentlemanly behavior, and English he knew was learned the offensive." But with his military skills, on his voyage to America limited experience, supplies, When Pulaski was 19, from the ship's officers, and trained forces, Washing- Poland came under attack by After he arrived at General ton more often than not wa several countries and had no Washington's headquarters, forced to parry, defend and means to defend itself. His Pulaski begged Washington retreat with his army-rather father sent Casimir and his for a commission so he could than seek the offensive. older brother to recruit an begin serving immediately in On September 11, 1777, army paid for by the family the American Army with the (and before he was commis- fortune. By himself, Casimir cavalry. But, because Wash- sioned by Congress) Pulaski was able to recruit and equip ington was unable to grant was scouting the British Army an army of nearly six thou- him a commission, Casimir and discovered they were sand men. During the next was forced to return to Phila- advancing toward the Ameri- few years, Casimir became delphia and request acom- can army at Brandywine an accomplished military mission from the Continental Creek, near Chadds Ford, PA. leader .... respected for his Congress. The British were planning to military skills by both friend Unfortunately, his com- destroy Washington's forces and foe, ultimately, however, mand of the English language and capture Philadelphia he was forced to find exile in - was so poor that the Congress (which was the American France. thought Pulaski was request- capital at the time) with one While he was in France, ing command of the entire major, thrust. One British political intrigue and schemes army instead of a "volunteer column advanced into the resulted in Casimir being corps of cavalry" [composed open ..... while another, under robbed and eventually thrown of two hundred officers and Lord Cornwallis, made a into debtor's prison for debts men who would serve directly flanking movement behind he incurred trying to raise under the command of Gen- the American encampment. another army to fight for eral Washington]. While This maneuver was familiar Polish freedom., this misunderstanding was to what Casimir had seen Friends secured his release being worked out, Pulaski in European battle tactics. from prison by paying his spent each day riding with The British struck quickly debts. Soon after his release, Washington and performing and the American army was Casimir arranged an introduc- .reconnaissance. nearly surrounded. General tion to Benjamin Franklin, Washington did not have Washington realized that his the American ambassador any military background army was in another desper- to France. With letters of with cavalry, so Pulaski was ate position and decided to introduction citing Pulaski's anxious to demonstrate how. save his supplies by sending (1) mih'tary skills, (2) reputa- valuable cavalry could be. them north. Washington tion as a cavalry leader and Pulaski often tried to empha- quickly lost hope of saving (3) commitment to freedom, size the use of cavalry and Philadelphi,a.. Casimir took Pulaski persuaded Franklin talked to anyone who would this opportunity to display to help him travel to America listen about his military expe- the value of cavalry. He with a recommendation to riences, including General begged Washington for a General George Washington Washington. Unfortunately, small detachment of thirty and the Continental Congress.. because of his limited English cavalrymen. The right side of Franklin was agreeable on the and his youthful energy and the American army entrench- condition that Pulaski pay his confidence, he was consid- merit was breaking, and the own way to America. ered brash, over-confident, " center was about the give way. When Casimir reached impetuous, and egotistical- Washington quickly accepted Boston, he was 30 years old --and probably he was. His Pulaski's request. and had nearly 14 years of personal motto had become: As was his normal practice 175th Anniversary Committee Celebrating hneral Casim00 l00laski's B00da7 6 pm to 11 pm Sat. March 5 Mt Pulaski Americu Legion Hall llP, Dinner - Polish & American Foods and Dessets-l Entertainment - Kung Fu Dynainite Band (4os- sos- 60s- 7os Music) Tickets $10 Per Person... On sale at Salt Creek Attic 17 in battle, Pulaski LED (not directed) his detachment of troops. His cavalry detach- ment could hardly understand his orders ..... but his actions spoke volumes. The British were caught by surprise and quickly halted their advance. With the advance stopped, the American foot soldiers began to rally. This opportunity gave Washington the neces- sary time to save his supplies and Washington extricated far more of his army than he thought possible. Casimir proved the value cavalry. His gallant rear-guard action had helped save the Revolutionary Army. As soon as word of his commission to brigadier general was published, Casi- mir set up the cavalry corps. One significant difficulty that Pulaski encountered was that American generals could not understand why cavalry should be an independent corps. Up to that point the American Army used cav- alry units to scout and send messages. Throughout his service to America, Pulaski constantly had to defend and prove the use of cavalry for offensive purposes. December 11, 1777, at Schuylkill River, PA., Pulas- ki's cavalry found the whole British army approaching in forced march toward the American Army. PulaSki charged into the astonished vanguard of the British army and forced its retreat. Though his constant raids were on a small scale, Pulaski showed great ingenuity. At the Battle of Chestnut Hill, when the American ranks were broken, his small cavalry detachment arrived in ,time to turn disaster into victory. Pulaski sent a barrage of let- ters to Congress asking for a monger cavalry force, but with no success. General Washington had his own prob- lems and wasn't in a position to support Pulaski's requests for additional support and supplies. Washington's own command was in jeopardy with political in-fighting and a scarcity of supplies and equip- ment for his rag-tag army. Among his many struggles, Pulaski was very frustrated as he tried to wain his cawalry. Demands persisted to provide ceand support for the Americans in daily skirmishes with the enemy, so much so that Pulaski couldn't train his men to the level he wanted. TO PAGE 14