Downtown, Monumental

Monumental: Casimir Pulaski

Pulaski in the Snow
Casimir Pulaski in the Snow by tbridge

On the Eastern side of Freedom Plaza stands a horse-mounted General, with one hoof raised. It’s Casimir Pulaski, the Polish-born Father of the American Cavalry, a Revolutionary War Hero. I only mention the one hoof in the air because of the old “How many raised hoofs determines how the historical figure died,” trope. It’s totally not an accurate rule. Sure it works some of the time, but it’s a bad guide more than it is a good one. Sure, it works better at Gettysburg, just up the road, but not in DC.

Casimir Pulaski, a native of Poland, came to the Colonies after his own failed revolution against the Russians failed. His land seized, his army gone, he left in disgrace, but with a brilliant military mind. Pulaski’s arrogance, and lack of command of the English that was common on the battlefield made him a difficult fit in the Continental Army. Through the intervention of General Washington, Pulaski was made Commander of the Horse, and eventually General of an independent horse corps that fought in the Siege of Charleston and the Battle of Savannah.

Pulaski was fatally wounded in an attempt to retake Savannah from British forces, shot in the groin by grapeshot. Thus, his statue, according to the horse code, should have both front hooves raised.