Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Patriot and soldier, b. at Winiary, Poland, 4 March, 1748; d. on the Wasp, in the harbour of Savannah, 11 Oct., 1779; eldest son of Count Joseph Pulaski and Maria Zislinska. His father, a noted jurist, reared him for the bar, and he received his military training, as a youth, in the guard of Charles, Duke of Courland. Pulaski was one of those who, under the leadership of his father, formed, 29 Feb., 1768, the confederation of Bar, to free Poland from Russia. Driven into Moldavia he, returning, seized the monastery of Berdichev and for several weeks withstood with slender forces a siege by the Russians. Again finding refuge in Moldavia in 1769 after the arrest and death of his father, Pulaski in a series of brilliant marches overran and raised in revolt the greater part of Poland and Lithuania. Defeated by Suvaroff at Lomazy, near Wladowa, he fled with only ten men into the Carpathian Mountains. There he spent the winter of 1769-70, making forays into Poland, and in August, 1770, seized the fortified monastery of Czenstochowa. He gallantly defended it against a siege in Jan., 1771, and forced the Russians to withdraw. Though he joined his compatriots in driving the Russians across the Vistula, his failure to co-operate with Dumouriez is considered to have caused the loss of the battle of Landskron, where Suvaroff overwhelmingly defeated the patriots. Beaten at Cartenow near Leopol and failing to take Zamose, he returned to Czenstochowa. Though modern historians hold him guiltless, he was convicted of treason and outlawed for complicity in the plot to seize and carry off King Stanislaus, 3 Nov., 1771. This plot lead to the open intervention of Prussia and Austria, and Pulaski, after a gallant but futile defence of Czenstochowa, fled in 1772 to Turkey, and later to France.

On 17 Oct., 1776, he offered his services to Franklin, the American agent, landed at Boston in July, 1777, and joined Washington. He rendered signal service, 4 Sept., 1777, at Brandywine Creek; he was commissioned 15 Sept., 1777, by the Continental Congress commander of the horse with rank of brigadier. He saved the army from surprise at Warren Tavern, and took part, 4 Oct., 1777, in the battle of Germantown. He was prominent in the Jersey campaign during the winter, but resigned his command, 28 March, 1778, to organize an independent corps known as Pulaski's Legion. The banner of the legion was purchased by him from the Moravians at Bethlehem and not presented to him, as represented by Longfellow in his "Hymn of the Moravian Nuns ". Ordered to Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, the legion on 15 Oct., 1778, suffered severe loss through a night attack, which he repulsed. Dissatisfied with his assignments, he was only dissuaded by Washington from resignation. He entered Charleston, 8 May, 1779; he gallantly attacked the investing British on 11 May. Against the inclination of the authorities he held the city until it was relieved on 13 May. He rendered great services during the siege of Savannah, Georgia, and in the assault on the city, 9 Oct., he commanded both the American and French cavalry. He was wounded by a shot in the upper part of the thigh, and was taken on board the brig Wasp. He died as the vessel was leaving the river and was buried at sea off St. Helena's Island, South Carolina. It has been mistakenly held by some that his remains lie under the monument erected to his memory at Savannah. On 11 May, 1910, there was unveiled at Washington a monument to his memory, erected by order of Congress.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:32--5:8
32 Be generous to one another, sympathetic, forgiving each other as ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
1 How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the wicked and does not ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:10-17
10 One Sabbath day he was teaching in one of the synagogues,11 ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 24th, 2016 Image

St. Anthony Mary Claret
October 24: Claretian archbishop and founder. Anthony was ... Read More