08 May 2013

The Monument to Count Pulaski: a Tombstone or Not?

Yesterday, I shared with you a couple of photos and information regarding the monument to General Nathanael Greene in Savannah, Georgia. That monument, more than 70 years after it was originally raised, became a tombstone for General Greene and his son. Did the same thing happen with the monument to Count Pulaski?

Though originally planned for Chippewa Square, the cornerstone for the monument to Casimir Pulaski was relaid in Savannah's Monterey Square in 1853, with the finished product being dedicated a couple of years later.

From Lucian Lamar Knight's Georgia's Landmarks, Memorials, and Legends:

"...It is fifty feet in height; a column of solid marble resting on a base of granite and surmounted by a statue of the goddess of liberty, holding a wreath in her outstretched hand..."

The Goddess of Liberty atop the Pulaski Monument
Photo © 2010-2013 S. Lincecum

"...On each of the four corners of the base is chiseled an inverted cannon, emblematic of loss and mourning. The coats of arms of both Poland and Georgia, entwined with branches of laurel, ornament the cornices, while the bird of freedom rests upon both..."

Upside down cannons,
 and Georgia shield below eagle.
Photo © 2010-2013 S. Lincecum

"...Pulaski, on an elegant tablet of bronze, is portrayed in the act of falling, mortally wounded, from his horse, at the time of the famous siege; and the whole is a work of consummate art..."

Photo © 2010-2013 S. Lincecum

"...It was executed in Italy at a cost of $18,000 and was considered at the time one of the most elegant memorials in America. The inscription on the monument reads:"

Pulaski, the Heroic Pole, who fell mortally wounded, fighting for American
Liberty, at the siege of Savannah, October 9, 1779.
Photo © 2010-2013 S. Lincecum

But is this monument also a tombstone? Well, there's conjecture.  The Casimir Pulaski historical marker situated near the monument reads:  "Doubt and uncertainty exists as to where Pulaski died and as to his burial - place.  A contemporary Charlestown, S.C. newspaper item and others sources indicate that he died aboard a ship bound for that port.  It was generally believed that he was buried at sea.  A tradition persisted, however, that General Pulaski died at Greenwich plantation near Savannah and that he was buried there.  When the monument here was under erection the grave at Greenwich was opened.  The remains found there conformed, in the opinion of physicians, to a man of Pulaski's age and stature and were re-interred beneath this memorial in a metallic case in 1854."

Wikipedia has a bit more to say: "...Remains at Monterey Square alleged to be Pulaski's were exhumed in 1996 and examined in a forensic study. The eight-year examination, including DNA analysis, ended inconclusively, although the skeleton is consistent with Pulaski's age and occupation. The remains were reinterred with military honors in 2005."

So is this a mere memorial or a tombstone, too? I guess no one knows for sure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have played on and around that as a kid and watched my kids do the same. Never dreamed my favorite writer LL Knight may have stood on that hallowed ground. Sigh... Thank you so much for the post! JWC PC, FL

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