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General Pulaski Memorial Day

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

General Pulaski Memorial Day
Observed byUnited States
TypeNational Holiday
DateOctober 11
Next timeOctober 11, 2019 (2019-10-11)
Related toCasimir Pulaski Day

General Pulaski Memorial Day is a United States public holiday in honor of General Kazimierz Pułaski (spelled Casimir Pulaski in English), a Polish hero of the American Revolution. This holiday is held every year on October 11 by Presidential Proclamation, to commemorate his death from wounds suffered at the Siege of Savannah on October 9, 1779 and to honor the heritage of Polish Americans. The observance was established in 1929 when Congress passed a resolution (Public Resolution 16 of 1929) designating October 11 as General Pulaski Memorial Day. Every President has issued a proclamation for the observance annually since (except in 1930).

This is separate holiday from the regional holiday in the Chicago area titled Casimir Pulaski Day that commemorates Pulaski's birth on March 4, 1746.

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  • ✪ Pocket Bio's E35: Casimir Pulaski (1745-1779)


{\rtf1\ansi\ansicpg1252\deff0\nouicompat\deflang1033{\fonttbl{\f0\fnil\fcharset0 Arial;}{\f1\fnil\fcharset238 Arial;}{\f2\fnil\fcharset238 Arial CE;}{\f3\fnil Arial;}{\f4\fswiss\fcharset0 Arial;}{\f5\fnil\fcharset0 Calibri;}} {\*\generator Riched20 10.0.14393}\viewkind4\uc1 \pard\fs16\lang9\tab\lang1033 Casimir \lang9 Casaimir Pulaski was born on March 6, 1745, in the manor house of the Pulaski family in Warsaw, Poland. The Pulaski family was Roman Catholic and early in his youth, Casimir Pulaski attended an elite college run by Theatines, a male religious order of the Catholic Church in Warsaw, but did not finish his education.\f0\lang1033 \f1\lang9 In 1762, Pulaski started his military career as a page of Carl Christian Joseph of Saxony, Duke of Courland and vassal of the Polish king. He spent six months at the ducal court in Mitau, during which the court was interned in the palaces by the Russian forces occupying the area. \par \f0\tab\f2 With his family, he took part in the 1764 election of the new Polish monarch, Stanis\'b3aw II August. In December 1767, Pulaski and his father became involved with the Bar Confederation, which saw King Stanis\'b3aw as a Russian puppet and sought to curtail Russian hegemony over the Commonwealth. The confederation was actively opposed by the Russian forces stationed in Poland. Pulaski recruited a unit and on February 29, 1768, signed the act of the confederation, thus declaring himself an official supporter of the movement. On March 6, he received the rank of a pu\'b3kownik and commanded a choragiew of cavalry.\f0\lang1033 \f2\lang9 He fought his first battle on April 20 near Pohore\'b3e; it was a victory, as was another on April 23 near Starokostiantyniv. An engagement at Kaczan\f0\'f3wka on April 28 resulted in a defeat. In early May he garrisoned Chmielnik, but was forced to retreat when allied reinforcements were defeated. He retreated to a monastery, which he defended during a siege by royalist forces for over two weeks until June 16. Eventually he was forced to surrender and was taken captive by the Russians. On June 28, he was released in exchange for a pledge that he would not again take up arms with the Confederates, and that he would lobby the Confederates to end hostilities. However, Pulaski considered the pledge to be non-binding, and made a public declaration to that effect upon reaching a camp of the Confederates at the end of July. Agreeing to the pledge in the first place weakened his authority and popularity among the Confederates, and his own father considered whether or not he should be court-martialed.\par \tab In 1769, Pulaski's unit was again besieged by numerically superior forces. However, after a staunch defense, he was able to break the Russian siege. On April 7, he was made the regimentarz of the Krak\'f3w Voivodeship. In May and June he operated near Przemy\f1\'9c\f0 l, but failed to take the town. Criticized by some of his fellow Confederates, Pulaski departed to Lithuania with his allies and a force of about 600 men on June 3. There, Pulaski was able to assemble a 4,000-strong army and deliver it back to a Confederate staging point. This excursion received international notice and gained him a reputation as the most effective military leader in the Bar Confederation.\f2 \f0\fs24\par \fs16\tab\f2 In February 1770, Pulaski moved near Nowy Targ\f0 . Based in Izby, he subsequently operated in southern Lesser Poland and on May 13 his force was defeated at the Battle of D\f1\'eaborzyn. Around June 9\f3\endash\f0 10 in Pre\f1\'9a\f0 ov, in a conference with other Confederate leaders, he met Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, who complimented Pulaski on his actions. On July 3\f3\endash\f0 4, Pulaski's camp was captured by Johann von Drewitz, and he was forced to retreat into Austria. Early in August he met with the French emissary, Charles Fran\'e7ois Dumouriez. He disregarded an order to take Lanckoronna and instead cooperated with Micha\f1\'b3\f0 Walewski in a raid on Krak\'f3w on the night of August 31. He then departed for Cz\f1\'ea\f0 stochowa. On September 10, along with Walewski, he used subterfuge to take control of the Jasna G\'f3ra monastery. On September 18 he met \f1 the wife of Charles of Saxony\b , \b0 Duke of Courland; he impressed her and she would become one of his protectors. Around September 22\f3\endash\f0 24 Walewski was made the commandant of Jasna G\'f3ra, which slighted Pulaski. Nonetheless he continued as the de facto commander of Confederate troops stationed in and around Jasna G\'f3ra. Between September 10, 1770, and January 14, 1771, Pulaski, Walewski and J\'f3zef Zaremba commanded the Polish forces during the siege of Jasna G\'f3ra monastery. They successfully defended against Drewitz in a series of engagements, the largest one on November 11, followed by a siege from December 31 to January 14. The defense of Jasna G\'f3ra further enhanced his reputation among the Confederates and abroad. \f2\par \f0\lang1033\tab\lang9 In February 1771, Pulaski operated around Lublin; on February 25 he was victorious at Tar\f1\'b3\f0\'f3w and on the night of February 28 and March 1, his forces besieged Kra\f1\'9c\f0 nik. In March that year he became one of the members of the Confederates' War Council. One military adviser of the Confederates at the time described him as "spontaneous, more proud than ambitious, friend of the prince of Courland, enemy of the Potocki family, brave and honest" as well as popular among other commanders. \f2 Furthermore, he enjoyed fighting against the Russians above everything else.\par \f0\tab\f2 In May 1771, Pulaski advanced on Zamo\'9c\'e6, refusing to coordinate an operation with Dumouriez against Alexander Suvorov; without Pulaski's support, the Confederates were defeated at the Battle of Lanckorona. Pulaski's forces were victorious at the Battle of Majdany, and briefly besieged Zamo\'9c\'e6, but it was relieved by Suvorov. On July 27, he declared he would from then on strictly adhere to orders from the Confederacy. In October his responsibilities in the War Council were increased, and th\f0\lang1033 at\f2\lang9 same month he became involved with the plan to kidnap King Poniatowski. Pulaski was initially opposed to this plan but later supported it on the condition that the king would not be harmed. The attempt failed, weakening the international reputation of the Confederates, and when Pulaski's involvement with the attempted kidnapping became known, the Austrians expelled him from their territories. He spent the following winter and spring in Cz\'eastochowa, during which time several of his followers were defeated, captured or killed.\par \f0\tab\f2 On May 31, 1772, Pulaski left the Jasna G\f0\'f3ra monastery and went to Silesia in Prussia. In the meantime, the Bar Confederation was defeated, with most fighting ending around the summer. Overall, Pulaski was seen as one of the most famous and accomplished Confederate leaders. Leaving Prussia, Pulaski sought refuge in France, where he unsuccessfully attempted to join the French Army. Around that time he was recruited by Marquis de Lafayette and Benjamin Franklin for service in the American Revolutionary War. Franklin was impressed by Pulaski, and he subsequently recommended that General George Washington accept Pulaski as a volunteer in the Continental Army cavalry. \par \tab On August 20, he met General George Washington in his headquarters in Neshaminy Falls, outside Philadelphia\b , \b0 Pennsylvania. He argued for the superiority of cavalry over infantry. Because Washington was unable to grant him an officer rank, Pulaski spent the next few months traveling between Washington's camp and the US Congress in Philadelphia. His first military engagement against the British occurred before he received it, on September 11, 1777, at the Battle of Brandywine. When the Continental Army troops began to yield, he reconected with Washington's bodyguard of about 30 men, and reported that the enemy were endeavoring to cut off the line of retreat. Washington ordered him to collect, as many as possible and employ them according to his discretion to secure the retreat of the army. His subsequent charge averted a disastrous defeat of the Continental Army cavalry, earning him fame in America and saved the life of George Washington. As a result, on September 15, 1777, Washington made Pulaski a Brigadier General in the Continental Army Cavalry. At that point, the cavalry was only a few hundred men organized into four regiments. These men were scattered among numerous infantry formations, and used primarily for scouting duties. Pulaski immediately began work on reforming the cavalry.\par \tab In turn, he focused on reorganizing the cavalry force, mostly stationed in Trenton, New Jersey. While at Trenton his assistance was requested by General Anthony Wayne. Wayne was in danger of encountering a much larger British force sent to oppose his movements. Pulaski and 50 cavalry rode south to Burlington, New Jersey, where they skirmished with British sentries on February 28. After this minor encounter the British commander, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Stirling, was apparently convinced that he was facing a much larger force than expected, and prepared to withdraw his forces across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania at Cooper's Ferry. Pulaski and Wayne joined forces to attack Stirling's position on February 29 while he awaited suitable weather conditions to cross. In the resulting skirmish, Pulaski's horse was shot out from under him and a few of his cavalry were wounded.\par \tab Pulaski went to Yorktown, Virginia, where he met with General Horatio Gates and suggested the creation of a new unit. At Gates' recommendation, Congress confirmed his previous appointment to the rank of a Brigadier General, with a special title of "Commander of the Horse", and authorized the formation of a corps of 68 lancers and 200 light infantry. This corps, which became known as the Pulaski Cavalry Legion, was recruited mainly in Baltimore, Maryland, where it was headquartered. By August 1778, it numbered about 330 men, both Americans and foreigners. \par \f4\lang1033\tab\f0\lang9 In the autumn Pulaski was ordered to Little Egg Harbor in New Jersey, where in the engagement on October 15, known as The Affair at Little Egg Harbor, the legion suffered heavy losses. During the following winter Pulaski was stationed at Minisink, at that time in New Jersey. Ordered to take part in a punitive Sullivan Expedition against the Iroquois, he was dissatisfied with this command, and intended to leave the service and return to Europe, but instead asked to be reassigned to the Southern front. On February 2, 1779 General Washington ordered him to South Carolina.\par \tab Pulaski arrived in Charleston, South Carolina on May 8, 1779, finding the city in crisis. General Benjamin Lincoln, commander of the southern army, had led most of the army toward Augusta, Georgia, in a bid to recapture Savannah, Georgia, which had been captured by the British in late 1778. The British commander, Brigadier General Augustine Prevost, responded to Lincoln's move by launching a raiding expedition from Savannah across the Savannah River. The South Carolina militia fell back before the British advance, and Prevost's force followed them all the way to Charleston. Pulaski arrived just as military leaders were establishing the city's defenses. When the British advanced on May 11, Pulaski's Legion engaged forward elements of the British force, and was badly mauled in the encounter. The Legion infantry, numbering only about 60 men before the skirmish, was virtually wiped out, and Pulaski was forced to retreat to the safety of the city's guns. \par \tab Although Pulaski frequently suffered from malaria while stationed in Charleston, he remained in active service. At the beginning of September Lincoln prepared to launch an attempt to retake Savannah with French assistance. Pulaski was ordered to Augusta, where he was to join forces with General Lachlan McIntosh. Their combined forces were to serve as the forward elements of Lincoln's army. Pulaski captured a British outpost near Ogeechee River. His units then acted as an advance guard for the allied French units under Admiral Charles Hector, comte d'Estaing. He rendered great services during the siege of Savannah, and in the assault of October 9 commanded the whole cavalry, both French and American.\par \lang1033\tab\lang9 While attempting to rally fleeing French forces during a cavalry charge, Pulaski was mortally wounded by grapeshot. A wounded Pulaski was carried from the field of battle and taken aboard the South Carolina merchant brig privateer Wasp, where he died two days later. The historical accounts for Pulaski's time and place of burial vary considerably, however the date of his death is agreed as October 11, 1779. He was 34 years old when he died.\par \lang1033\tab\lang9 In March 1825, during his grand tour of the United States, General Lafayette personally laid the cornerstone for the Casimir Pulaski Monument in Savannah, Georgia. \f2 The United States has long commemorated Pulaski's contributions to the American Revolutionary War. In 1929, Congress passed another resolution, this one recognizing October 11 of each year as "General Pulaski Memorial Day". Several towns and counties in United States are named after him, as are numerous streets, parks and structures, such as the Pulaski Skyway\f0\lang1033 in Jersey City, New Jersey\f2\lang9 . \f0\lang1033 There was also \f2\lang9 Fort Pulaski, \f0\lang1033 which was \f2\lang9 active during the American Civil War. A\f0\lang1033 nd a\f2\lang9 statue commemorating Pulaski stands at the eastern end \par \pard\sa200\sl276\slmult1\f5\fs22\par } �


Regional celebrations

New York City has an annual Pulaski Day Parade and Grand Rapids, Michigan holds Pulaski Days at this time. Some areas with large Polish-American populations instead celebrate Casimir Pulaski Day on the first Monday of every March, marking Pulaski's March 4, 1746 birth. Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana have state recognition of this holiday, which is particularly popular in Chicago and Milwaukee.

General Pulaski's Day is a holiday recognized by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, United States "in commemoration of the death of revolutionary General Casimir Pulaski". General Pulaski's Day is observed on October 11 of every year in Kentucky. General Pulaski's Day was created by a statute enacted by the Kentucky General Assembly sometime prior to 1942.

History of the battle and Pulaski's role

The Siege of Savannah was an encounter of the American Revolutionary War in 1779. The year before, the city of Savannah, Georgia had been captured by a British expeditionary corps under Lieutenant-Colonel Archibald Campbell. The siege itself consisted of a joint Franco-American attempt to retake Savannah from September 16, 1779 to October 18, 1779. On October 9, 1779, a major assault against the British siege works failed. During the attack, Polish Kazimierz Pułaski, fighting on the American side, was mortally wounded. With the failure of the joint American-French attack, the siege failed, and the British remained in control of Georgia until July 1782, close to the end of the war.

The battle is much remembered in Haitian history; the Fontages Legion, consisting of over 500 gens de couleur—free men of color from Saint-Domingue—fought on the French side. Henri Christophe, who later became king of independent Haiti, is thought to have been among these troops.

In 2005 archaeologists with the Coastal Heritage Society and the LAMAR Institute discovered portions of the British fortifications at Spring Hill. The brunt of the combined French and American attack on October 9, 1779, was focused at that point. The find represents the first tangible remains of the battlefield. In 2008 the CHS/LAMAR Institute archaeology team discovered another segment of the British fortifications in Madison Square.


President George W. Bush issued a presidential proclamation on October 10, 2002, observing the day.[1] President Barack Obama issued the observance on October 8, 2010.[2] On October 10, 2017, President Donald Trump proclaimed the day.[3][4][5]


  1. ^ Office of the Press Secretary (October 10, 2002). "General Pulaski Memorial Day, 2002" (PDF). Federal Register. Washington, D.C.: Federal Government of the United States. Archived from the original on October 16, 2002. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  2. ^ Office of the Press Secretary (October 8, 2010). "The White House: Presidential Proclamation--General Pulaski Memorial Day". Washington, D.C.: White House. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  3. ^ Office of the Press Secretary (October 6, 2017). "President Donald J. Trump Proclaims October 11, 2017, as the 88th anniversary of General Pulaski Memorial Day". Washington, D.C.: White House. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  4. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Proclaims October 11, 2017, as the 88th anniversary of General Pulaski Memorial Day". World News Network. United States: World News Inc. October 11, 2017. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  5. ^ "General Pulaski Memorial Day, 2017" (PDF). Federal Register. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. October 6, 2017. Archived from the original on October 13, 2017. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
This page was last edited on 22 April 2019, at 03:40
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