The Polish Intersex Officer Who Saved George Washington’s Life and Died Fighting for the American Revolution
On March 6th of 1745, a child with ambiguous genitals was born in the manor house of the Pulaski family in Poland. During the late stage of her fetal development, the little girl’s outward appearance became masculinized by a flood of testosterone. This did not bode well for the child, although “his” small stature would go on to make him a great horseback rider later in life. Regardless, when he was born, Casimir Pulaski would have been called a “hermaphrodite” by his doctors and family members. However, recently it has become politically correct to refer to this condition as intersex. With that being said, at the time, a priest was summoned to the house to baptize what he called a “debilitated boy”. To make matters worse, Casimir’s parents were then instructed to raise a predominantly female child as a male. So, Pulaski grew up to become the “Father of American Cavalry”, but at least half of his psychology and physiology were dismissed in the process. Sadly, Pulaski’s congenital adrenal hyperplasia was kept secret, from most everyone including him. Therefore, he grew up being different but not knowing why, as shown in the medical illustration below. Given this to be true, Pulaski went on to be solitary and asexual, never having any intimate interactions with women as an adult. Although he did correspond with at least one woman.
In spite of all of this, following in his father’s footsteps, Pulaski became interested in politics at an early age and soon became involved in the military and the revolutionary affairs in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Then, in December of 1767, Pulaski and his father became involved with the Bar Confederation, which saw King Stanisław II as a Russian puppet, so they sought to curtail Russian hegemony in the Commonwealth. Thus, Casimir Pulaski went on to become one of the leading figures fighting against the invasion. However, when the uprising failed, Casimir was driven into exile. To make matters worse, he had been wounded in the revolt and a fracture in his right hand never properly healed. Pulaski also had a lot of arthritis from a lifetime of horseback riding. In spite of the pain, still itching to fight, Casimir Pulaski went to France looking to join the army but they declined his offer. This is when he met Benjamin Franklin in Paris. There the founding father persuaded Pulaski to fight for colonial liberty in North America. So, he headed to the United States. Franklin subsequently recommended that General George Washington accept Pulaski as a volunteer cavalryman, stating that Pulaski “ was renowned throughout Europe for the courage and bravery he displayed in defense of his country’s freedom.”
Once in Massachusetts, Casimir Pulaski sent a compelling letter to George Washington asking to be commissioned in the Continental Army. In it, Pulaski stated, “I came here, where freedom is being defended, to serve it, and to live or die for it.” The thing was that before the request went before the Continental Congress, Pulaski had already met up with Washington at the Battle of Brandywine. It was fought between the American Continental Army of General Washington and the British Army of General Howe on September 11th of 1777. The forces met near Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, as Howe and his men advanced toward the American capital. That’s one of the reasons why, at Brandywine Creek, more troops fought than at any other battle of the American Revolution. It was also the longest single-day battle of the war, with continuous fighting for eleven hours. During that crucial conflict, in a cunning move, while part of Howe’s men demonstrated on the frontline, he took the bulk of his troops on a long march that crossed the Brandywine far beyond Washington’s right flank. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Americans didn’t detect the British until they reached a position in the rear. That’s why when the American troops began to yield, Pulaski reconnoitered with Washington’s bodyguard of three dozen men and reported that the enemy was endeavoring to cut off the line of retreat.
At that point, General Washington ordered him to collect all the scattered troops who came his way and employ them according to his discretion to secure the retreat of the Continental Army. After a long bloody battle, Pulaski defended Washington’s rear assisting in his personal escape. That act of bravery and brilliance allowed General Washington to live on and fight another day, thereby allowing the Revolutionary War to continue. As a result of his selfless actions in the face of the enemy on the field of battle, Casimir Pulaski was eventually awarded honorary US citizenship. He also became a brigadier general in the Continental Army, immediately after the Battle of Brandywine. Then, he and his close friend, Michael Kovats created the Pulaski Cavalry Legion and reformed the American military in the process. Pulaski literally wrote the book on cavalry training and his hit and run raids became legendary. Still, it was only a matter of time before his bellicose ways got him killed. Tragically, at the Battle of Savannah, Brigadier General Pulaski was fatally wounded by British grapeshot while leading his final cavalry charge as one of our finest champions. The heroic martyr for freedom was only 34 years old when it happened. Fortunately, having defended liberty on two separate continents, the spirit of his flamboyant, larger-than-life personality stills lives on to this very day.