Remembering General Pulaski by Edward Pinkowski
In her remarks in the Congressional Record, March 6, 2007, on the 262nd anniversary of General Casimir Pulaski's birth, the honorable Marcy Kaptur, (D-OHIO), who has now served in the U. S. House of Representatives longer than any other woman of Polish descent, was more accurate when it came to Pulaski than all the encyclopedias and reports you may have read in other places.
She spoke for herself and Congressman Jack Kingston (R-Georgia), who comes from the area where Pulaski died on October 15, 1779, and was buried at night on Greenwich plantation so that British troops, three miles away, wouldn't find his grave. The story that Pulaski was buried at sea was a hoax to fool them. And now many Poles!
The grandson of the plantation owner had Pulaski's bones dug up in 1852 and, after many months of study, including taking out out a few teeth to repair someone else's, they were piled neatly in an iron box, with the inscription "Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski" on the cover, and set on a shelf in a brick vault under the Pulaski Monument in Savannah, Georgia. Dr. Metts, one of Congressman Kingston's constituents in Savannah, has not buried all of General Pulaski's bones; he has kept a few bones for future DNA testing. As is evident in his report, the remains of General Pulaski have so far been identified by historical and physical evidence.
Kaptur and her staff made all the arrangements with Dr. Monica Krol, Executive Director, National Polish Center, for the memorial services on Capitol Hill. Afterwards Kaptur said addressing Nancy Pelosi, “Madame Speaker, the American Center of Polish Center today presented to Dr. James Metts Jr. an award to recognize his research on the fate of General Casimir Pulaski's remains. Dr. Metts, coroner of Chatham County, Georgia, served as the chairman of a 10 year investigation to positively identify General Pulaski's remains. Mr. Kingston and I want to congratulate Dr. Metts upon receiving this award.
“The birthday of Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski in George Washington's Continental Army was marked for the first time on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, March 6, 2007, the 262nd anniversary of his birth [1745 March 06] in Warsaw, Poland.
“To celebrate the occasion, the National Polish Center (also known as the American Center of Polish Culture of Washington, D.C.) sponsored a birthday breakfast at the Rayburn House Office Building. Among those who came were sponsors of the resolutions to make Pulaski an honorary U. S. citizen and other notables from Congress and the Polish community.
“The featured speaker was Dr. Thaddeus Radzilowski, president of the Piast Institute in Detroit, Michigan, and president emeritus of St. Mary's College in Orchard Lake, Michigan.
“Dr. Metts was recognized for his leadership and report on General Pulaski, whose remains were found in September 1996. They had been buried in a crypt under the Pulaski Monument in Savannah, Georgia, since 1853.
Edward Pinkowski, internationally known authority on General Pulaski, was the chief financial sponsor of the Pulaski identification project.
“Pulaski's remains were examined by forensic specialists in Savannah since 1996. Dr. Metts said the remains are 'consistent in remarkable detail with the physical appearance, life history, and cavalry lifestyle of Casimir Pulaski.'
“Pulaski's remains were re-interred in October 2005 in front of the monument in Savannah's Monterey Square.
“At the Washington event, a wreath was laid at the heroic-size marble bust of Pulaski located in the Capitol Building. The bust was carved by Henry Dmochowski (1810-1863) from Carrera marble and moved to Capitol Hill in 1882.
“According to Jack Pinkowski, Ph. D., vice chairman of the National Polish Center, 'this first birthday celebration at the Capitol is important because it identifies Pulaski's correct birth date as March 6, 1745. It also gives us an opportunity to recognize the ten years of work of Dr. Metts and his team in Poland and the United States.'
“Casimir Pulaski was born and raised in Warsaw, the son of Count Jozef Pulaski, a member of the Polish parliament (Sejm). The young Pulaski won his reputation as a guerilla fighter in Poland's struggle for independence.
“Political intrigue forced him to leave Poland in 1772, and he spent time in Turkey, Germany, and France. He went to America in 1777 with a letter of recommendation from Benjamin Franklin which was solicited by Pulaski's friends. Pulaski was commissioned by the Continental Congress as a brigadier general to command four cavalry regiments and later formed the Pulaski Legion.
Death on Wasp
“Among his exploits in the American fight for freedom were saving George Washington's life and the first successful defense of Charleston, South Carolina. He was wounded in the siege of Savannah on October 9, 1779, and died on board the ship Wasp. He was secretly buried on the banks of the Thunderbolt (now Wilmington) River where the Wasp was tied up to a finger wharf and where Samuel Bulfinch, captain of the Wasp, wrote a letter that notified General Benjamin Lincoln of Pulaski's death. He said that Pulaski died on board his ship on October 15 (1779).
“Pulaski remains a symbol of Polish courage, Polish initiative, and Polish friendship for the United States.
“We thank Dr. James C. Metts Jr. for his efforts to remind us of this American Revolution War hero, and congratulate him on his receipt of the American Center of Polish Culture award.”
Laying a wreath at the marble bust of General Pulaski on Capitol Hill, Washington. D. C., on March 6, the 262nd anniversary of the Polish hero's birth in Warsaw, Poland, are (l. to r.) Dr. Jack Pinkowski, Vice Chairman of the American Center of Polish Culture, who conducted the ceremonies; Congressman Jack Kingston (R-Georgia), who represents the area where Pulaski died on October 15, 1779, and was buried; Edward Pinkowski, 90-year old Board Member of the American Institute of Polish Culture; and Dr. James C. Metts Jr., who identified the bones found under the Pulaski Monument in Savannah, Georgia as Pulaski's and thus refuted the myth that Pulaski was buried at sea.