The U.S. House of Representatives today voted overwhelmingly to grant Brigadier General Count Casimir Pulaski honorary U.S. citizenship. Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA), who supported the resolution, believes the honor is long overdue.
"I think we in Savannah can be very proud that the United States Congress has voted to give Brigadier General Count Pulaski honorary U.S. citizenship," said Congressman Kingston. "It's probably long over due when you consider everything he did to the cause of freedom not just in America but in Europe as well. He's somebody that we can all be proud of and I'm glad we were able to get this done."
Pulaski, who is known as the "Father of the American Cavalry," came from Poland to fight in the American Revolution in June 1777. Though forced to overcome the language barrier as well as inadequate funding, Pulaski was quickly commission a brigadier general and appointed "Commander of the Horse" by General George Washington and the Continental Congress.
By Spring 1778, he was approved to command and independent legion which was soon ordered to join forced with the Southern Army and French troops to retake Savannah after a surprise British invasion in December of that year.
In October 1779, Pulaski helped lead a brutal bombardment of British troops which lasted five days. On October 9, he launched an attack which would eventually lead to his death. While attempting to crash through enemy lines, Pulaski was injured by grapeshot from a British cannon.
Two days alter, on October 11, Pulaski died aboard the USS Wasp. While accounts vary as to the location of his burial, many believe he was buried at the Greenwich Plantation near Thunderbolt. The remains from that site were exhumed and later reinterred when the City of Savannah erected a fifty-five foot obelisk in Monterey Square to honor Pulaski. A 1996 investigation which coincided with needed renovations and repairs to the monument proved inconclusive in confirming the identity of the remains due to water damage.
Pulaski will be just the seventh person to be granted an honorary citizenship which requires an Act of Congress or proclamation issued by the President. Previous recipients include Winston Churchill, Raoul Wallenberg, William and Hannah Penn, Mother Teresa and the Marquis de Lafayette.
Fort Pulaski, which was built at the mouth of the Savannah River to protect the city during the Civil War, and Pulaski County in Middle Georgia were both named in Pulaski's honor.