General Pulaski Memorial Day

General Pulaski Memorial Day

Infobox Holiday
holiday_name = General Pulaski Memorial Day
type = secular
longtype = National Holiday

caption =
official_name =
nickname =
observedby = United States
begins =
ends =
date = October 11
celebrations =
observances =
relatedto = Casimir Pulaski Day

General Pulaski Memorial Day is a United States holiday in honor of General Kazimierz Pułaski, a Polish hero of the American Revolution. This holiday is held every year on October 11 by Presidential Proclamation, to commemorate his death at the Siege of Savannah on October 11, 1779 and to honor the heritage of Polish Americans. The observance was established in 1929 when Congress passed a resolution designating October 11 as General Pulaski Memorial Day. Every President has written a proclamation for the observance annually since.

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.

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, and Indiana have state recognition of this holiday, which is particularly popular in Chicago and Milwaukee.

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 Count 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 was discovered in Madison Square.

This event is commemorated each year by presidential proclamation on General Pulaski Memorial Day.

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