foto: dr Jan Wludarczyk

 

foto: dr Jan Wludarczyk

 

Krzyzanowice, kolo Ilzy, 20 km od Wachocka ...

Krzyżanowice  k/ Iłży.

Dawniej Iłża byla miastem powiatowymi, a Wąchock, podobnie jak Krzyżanowice,

 przynależały do tegoż powiatu.

Krzyżanowski.com

 

Juwenalia - 1969

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Konkurs "Piosenki Studenckiej" ...

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POLISH LEGION

of

AMERICAN VETERANS - U.S.A.

Wlodzimierz Krzyzanowski

Polonia's Forgotten Hero

Most Polish Americans are familiar with the services of Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Kazimierz Pulaski in the service of American independence, but few remember the contribution of another Pole of a later generation to the preservation of the union made possible by Koœciuszko and Pulaski. The third military officer of note was Brigadier General Wlodzimierz Krzyzanowski. Born in Roznowo, Poland, in 1824, he grew up in a family deeply ingrained in the ideals of Polish patriotism. His first cousin was the Polish national composer Fryderyk Chopin, his father and both uncles fought for Polish independence under the banners of Napoleon, his brother fought in the November Uprising in 1830, and eventually he also took up the cause. Becoming involved in the conspiratorial movement led by Ludwik Mieroslawski, Krzyzanowski was forced to flee in the wake of that unsuccessful uprising. Tried in absentia by the Prussian authorities, he traveled to Hamburg where he boarded a ship for the New World to escape his Old World pursuers.

Arriving in New York unable to speak English, he found a room with a Polish livery driver, studied the new language, and gradually began to adapt to his new surroundings. After finding employment on the expanding railroads in the Midwest, he finally moved to Washington, D.C., where he married Caroline Burnett and settled into running a family pottery business. When the Civil War erupted at Ft. Sumter in April, 1861, Krzyzanowski joined the District of Columbia militia as a private soldier. When his ninety-day enlistment expired, he used his connections in the Washington immigrant community to raise a company of militia, of which he was named captain. From this beginning, he applied to the War Department and received permission to raise a regiment of infantry.

Recognizing that the population of Washington was not sufficient for his purposes, Krzyzanowski set up his headquarters in New York City, appealing to the large immigrant communities there, in Philadelphia, and throughout the eastern seaboard. Eventually, the men he raised were mustered into service as the 58th New York Volunteer Infantry, later known as the "Polish Legion." Comprised of a mixture of German, Polish, and other immigrant men, the regiment began mustering in on October 27, 1861.

Assigned to a division of immigrant troops commanded by Gen. Ludwig Blenker, Krzyzanowski first saw combat at the Battle of Cross Keys in the Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. There, on June 8, 1862, the Union troops met a portion of Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson's force. In the ensuing engagement, rebel troops attacked the left flank of the Union position, drove it back, and threatened to encircle Blenker's division. In the time of crisis, Krzyzanowski led his regiment forward in a counterattack that blunted the Confederate assault and saved the Union flank from collapse.

Because of his performance at Cross Keys, when the army was reorganized later that summer Krzyzanowski found himself appointed to command of an entire brigade of four regiments assigned to the army commanded by Gen. John Pope. He led his brigade with great gallantry at the Second Battle of Bull Run, winning praise from his division commander, Gen. Karl Schurz.

On May 2, 1863, the Northern army under Gen. Joseph Hooker and Southern army under Gen. Robert E. Lee met at Chancellorsville, Virginia. After a successful march that placed the Union forces behind the Confederates, Southern General "Stonewall" Jackson secretly brought his rebel troops around the flank of the Northern army where he launched a surprise attack.

Caught unprepared, the Northern army was on the verge of a complete defeat as victorious rebels drove in the flank and threatened to capture the Union artillery and its supply wagons. One regiment after another collapsed under the onslaught. In the midst of the maelstrom of flying metal, Krzyzanowski aligned two small regiments of immigrants, his own 58th New York and the 26th Wisconsin, to meet the Confederate attack. Outnumbered by more than seven to one, the two regiments under Krzyzanowski's personal command held fast against repeated attacks from three sides, gaining twenty minutes of valuable time during which the artillery and supply wagons were saved.

Although the battle ended in defeat for the North, Krzyzanowski won praise from his superiors for his steadfast leadership and courage.

From Chancellorsville, the armies moved north with the Union troops chasing the invading Confederates through Maryland and on north into Pennsylvania. On July 1, 1863, the two antagonists met on the fields and hills surrounding Gettysburg in the largest battle ever fought on the North American continent. Arrayed north of town, Krzyzanowski's brigade was thrown into the middle of a raging battle when the right flank of the Union army collapsed and Confederate troops stormed toward town in an attempt to cut off the entire Northern force from its escape route. Once again outnumbered, with no defensive cover, his ranks torn by a crossfire of Confederate artillery from the flanks and savaged by rebel rifle fire from front and right, Krzyzanowski's brigade fought desperately for its survival. All five regimental commanders were killed or wounded, casualties surpassed 50%, and Krzyzanowski himself suffered a serious injury when his horse fell on him during the conflagration. Forced to retire, the men fought grudgingly, keeping the escape route open until the rest of the army escaped and then serving as rear guard as the retreating federal forces regrouped on Cemetery Hill.

Only July 2, Krzyzanowski's decimated force found itself in reserve near the Evergreen Cemetery near the spot where some four months later President Lincoln would deliver his famous Gettysburg Address. In the fading twilight of that evening, Confederate forces launched a surprise attack that broke through the Union lines, scaled the hill and took possession of the Northern artillery positions posted there. In those crucial few minutes, the fate of the Union truly lay in the balance. As soon as the firing began, Krzyzanowski ordered his men into line, personally leading them in an counterattack aimed at the heart of the Confederate advance. Rushing into the gun emplacements, Krzyzanowski's men fought hand-to-hand with the enemy, gradually reclaiming the artillery and forcing the Confederates back down the hill. Southern historian Douglas Southall Freeman cited it as the closest the South came to victory at Gettysburg, but it was frustrated by the Polish colonel and his immigrant soldiers, preserving the Union victory and reversing the course of the war.

*   *   *   *   *

by James S. Pula
Graduate School and Continuing Education Dean at Utica College of Syracuse University (N.Y.), and historical writer.

more information / dalsze informacje

 

ancient_coat_of_arms_krzyzanowski

 

General Pulaski (1747-1779)
Hero of two Continents

General Kazimierz Pulaski was an outstanding Polish military leader and Count who grew up at a time when the sovereignty of Poland was being threatened by Imperial Russia. In 1771, he became a national hero when he led his small army to victory over Russian forces in Czestochowa.

In 1772, he was falsely accused of plotting to kill King Poniatowski whose court in Warsaw was dominated by Russians. In July, 1777, Count Casimir Pulaski arrived at Washington's headquarters with a letter of introduction from Benjamin Franklin who represented the year old United States of America in Paris. Franklin described Pulaski as an officer "famous throughout Europe, for his defense of the liberties of his country."

Rising to the rank of general during the next two years, crucial ones in the history of the American Revolution, Pulaski participated with distinction in the battles of Brandywine, Warren Tavern, Germantown, Trenton and Haddonfield near Camden.

Then he formed his own Polish Legion which fought at Little Egg Harbor and Charleston. This hero of two continents was mortally wounded at Savannah on October 9, 1779. He died three days later.

General Krzyzanowski (1824-1887)
Civil War Hero

Wlodzimierz Krzyzanowski was born in Roznow, in what was known as Russian Poland. His father was a landowner and a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars. He came to America shortly after the Polish Insurrection of 1846.

When President Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for volunteers, Krzyzanowski organized one of the first companies of militia in Washington, D.C. He attempted to expand recruitment to form a Polish Legion for service in the Union Army; but only managed to recruit enough troops for four companies. In the fall of 1861, the War Department combined his original four companies with six others from New York State to form the 58th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, often referred to as the Polish Legion.

During the Battle of Cross Keys, the regiment won renown for itself by saving an endangered Federal Artillery position from certain capture. At one point, Krzyzanowski led the advance against Confederate forces with only a bayonet in his hand for a weapon.

A gallant officer, who distinguished himself at Bull Run. Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, Krzyzanowski was twice passed over for promotion because no one in the Senate could pronounce his name.

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 Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Radio Address in Honor of General Krzyzanowski of Poland.      

October 11th, 1937.

 

Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ambassador, Ladies and Gentlemen:

In the epic struggle of the human race to govern itself Poland for centuries has been the champion of freedom. Through stress and storm, whether her sun shone brightly or suffered long though temporary eclipse, she has ever fought to hold aloft the torch of human liberty.

 

Because we hold this ideal of liberty in common, ours has been a long and unbroken friendship with the people of Poland. From the days of our struggle to achieve nationhood, unbroken by any rift through the century and a half of our life as a Nation, the American people and the people of Poland have maintained a friendship based upon this common spiritual ideal.

 

General Krzyzanowski, whose patriotism we commemorate today, is another link to bind us to the people from whom he came in the full tide of youthful promise when shadows lay over the land which gave him birth. It is a high privilege to bear witness to the debt which this country owes to men of Polish blood. Gratefully we acknowledge the services of those intrepid champions of human freedom - Pulaski and Kosciuszko - whose very names are watchwords of liberty, and whose deeds are part of the imperishable record of American independence. Out of the past they speak to us to bid us guard the heritage which they helped to bestow.

 

They and the millions of other men and women of Polish blood, who have united their destinies with those of America-whether in the days of Colonial settlement, in the War to attain independence, in the hard struggle out of which emerged our national unity, in the great journeyings across the Western Plains to the slopes of the Pacific, on farm or in town or city-through all of our history they have made their full contribution to the upbuilding of our institutions and to the fulfillment of our national life.

 

These are the thoughts and reflections that come to mind today as we consign to Arlington National Cemetery the honored dust of a son of Poland who faithfully served the country of his adoption. General Krzyzanowski was the embodiment of the Polish ideal of liberty. 

 

Into the making of that ancient ideal had gone the struggles and the vicissitudes of a thousand years of Polish national life. He whom we honor today, no less than those of his blood and kindred, who preceded him to America or who followed him to our shores, brought to us, and with us became partakers in, a common aspiration of freedom.

 

Neither time nor distance could erase from stout Polish hearts the memory of a glorious struggle for liberty, a struggle which in our own day and generation happily ended in the restoration of Poland to nationhood and to her rightful place as a sovereign state. 

 

As we sympathized in her aspirations to freedom, so we rejoice in her attainment of independence. We as a Nation seek spiritual union with all who love freedom. Of many bloods and of diverse national origins we stand before the world today as one people united in 

a common determination. That determination is to uphold the ideal of human society which makes conscience superior to brute strength, the ideal which would substitute freedom for force in the governments of the world.

 

Citation: John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters,The American Presidency Project.

Santa Barbara, CA: University of California

 

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