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

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18 In June 1778, Casimir received an urgent request for assistance from General Wayne who was under attack by three thousand British troops under General Howe near Wilmington, Delaware. At the time, Casimir was heavily into arrangements for a major series of train- ing maneuvers with his cavalry. His initial response was to explode in anger and indignation. General Wayne had demanded a detach- ment of cavalry immediately and Pulaski was angered at such a demand because he, Pulaski, was assigned directly to General Washington and was supposed to take orders directly from Washington, himself. He threw General Wayne's letter aside, but on second consideration, quickly ordered a 30-man detachment to saddle up immediately. Pulaski and his detachment rode several hours late into the night to arrive at Gen- eral Wayne's location near Wilmington in the late hours. While his fatigued men and horses rested a few hours, Pulaski conferred with Gen- eral Wayne and developed a plan of attack. Casimir recommended an immediate surprise attack .to take advantage of the howling Mt. Pulaski Times Casimir Pulaski: An American Patriot From Page 13 blizzard that was beginning, ported Pulaski's request, he Americans and French could The British were completely recommended that Pulaski attack Savannah. With the surprised by the charge of recruit the cavalry among exception of the small army cavalry into their outposts and Americans who could pay at Beaufort Island, the rest of the outpost guards fell into for their own horses and who the British were in the Savan- full retreat. The snowstorm would accept the Continental nah area. disguised the small number reward for prisoners as their The French fleet arrived of cavalry and soon 3,000 .pay. The Board of War (our first and a plan of attack British soldiers were in fidl early Department of Defense) was prepared on Savannah. retreat back to Philadelphia, offered advice to Congress on However, the night before abandoning supplies and Pulaski's recommendation, the attack, a traitor from the equipment, and suggested that because Charleston local militia took Meanwhile, the impetu- Pulaski was such a talented details of the plan to the ous Casimir's indignation and skilled military leader, he British. This treason wasn't mounted to the point that he should be given a command discovered until after the wrote a letter of resignation of at least eight hundred attack began. During this to General Washingtori. For infantry and twelve hun- battle, Pulaski was mortally the first and only time in his dred cavalrymen. In all its wounded by a shell fragment. career, his resentment was wisdom (that apparently stronger than his commit- this wisdom has been ment. handed down to Con- Despite the resignation, gress from generation Pulaski approached General to generation of new Washington at Valley Forge congressmen), Congress with a new plan to form an authorized sixty-eight independent legion, corn- horsemen and two hun- posed of both cavalry and dred infantry. infantry. It would be placed Pulaski was not directly under General Wash- deterred and quickly ington's immediate command recruited and equipped for use as the spearhead tbr his small force (most of Washington's army. Washing- whom owned their own ton was very interested in the horses and paid their plan, but this was the vicious own upkeep). After a winter at Valley Forge and brief assignment with Washington had more basic his force in upstate New issues with keeping his men York, Pulaski was sent fed and clothed. He advised to Charleston, S.C. Pulaski to ask Congress for When Pulaski entered a very small unit .... since it Charleston, he was :l informed that British  General Prevost had 3,600 men advang toward the city. Pulas- ki's immediate response was to join his Legion with This treason resulted in a " volunteers from the local French and American defeat. militia, and proceeded to Pulaski had lost so much destroy the enemy's advance blood that he was too weak parties and take prisoners for immediate surgery. Time from the astonished British was Pulaski's last enemy. front guard.. Within three days, Pulaski Pulaski's aggressiveness succumbed to gangrene. toward Prevost's army forced Casimir Pulaski died Octo- Prevost to withdraw his army ber 11, 1779, at the age of 32. to Beaufort Island to the south The funeral procession for to await reinforcements before Pulaski was so immense that he could mount a British cam- it encircled the entire city of paign against Charleston. Charleston. The Continental As Prevost retreated to Congress commanded that a Beaufort, Pulaski pursued statue be erected in Charles- was Washington's considered the enemy all the way. Using ton in memory of Pulaski. opinion that Congress was tactics Pulaski developed in King Stanislaus of Poland in no mood to spend much Poland, he took many British remarked at news of Pulaski's money to form such a force, prisoners and used captured death: "He died as he lived, a At once, Casimir drew up supplies abandoned by the hero, but an enemy of kings." a petition to Congress with British. Pulaski made Prevost What a tribute to this 32 )/ear modest specifications for an, fight every step of the way old military leader. independent mobile legion into Beaufort. Prevost had At the time, the battle of of three companies of lancers started toward Charleston Savannah was considered supported by three companies with 3,600 men; by the time a major disaster. Actually of infantry, a total of nearly his army arrived in Beaufort it was the turning point n 300 men. Pulaski begged for only eight hundred remained, the war. The British losses quick action from Congres s so The next test was whether during the previous summer that the new legion could be British reinforcements would in the retreat to Beaufort prepared for the coming sum- arrive first to support an attack and the constant harassment mer's campaign. Although on Charleston or the French by Pulaski's Legion against General Washington sup- fleet would arrive so that the the remaining British forces February 19, 2011 around Savannah were much more significant than anyone realized. The British soon withdrew from the south. The lesson that Pulaski taught was bearing fruit: "once a war begins, you must seize the offensive to win." Many historical accounts credit Pulaski for strength of character, quality of military leadership, daring, and.brav- ery. Some historians, though, view him as brash, feisty, arro- gant, touchy, obstreperous, a show-off, and someone con- stantly embroiled in squabbles with his fellow officers. There was a great deal of jealousy among American officers .who didn't want to take orders from a "foreigner", especially one who spoke English so poorly. This young Polish patriot might well occupy a much greater place in our history had he been spared by God for longer and fuller achieve- ment commensurate with his genius and devotion. Casimir Pulaski was a great patriot, committed to freedom above even his own life. I'm con- stantly left to wonder: why has our nation been given such people...both men and women (throughout our his- tory) who have been wg to sacce their treasures and themselves for .freedom, and more cy, our freedom? I have a two word answer: God's blessing. I'll leave you to seek your own answer to that question. Wade Schott 5901 Canterfield Ct Weldon Spring, Mo 63304