Battle of Savannah Anniversary
October 9-10, 2021This year's customary commemoration of the Battle of Savannah on Oct. 9th did not take place. This was due to the Mayor of Savannah, the Hon. Van R. Johnson having cancelled all public events, because of the Covid pandemic for the month of September. There was no way of knowing how things would develop for October. This left the Coastal Heritage Society (CSH), which is the caretaker for the Battlefield (as well as for the City of Savannah Museum, Fort Jackson and several other historical sites) uncertain as to how to proceed. With the city giving no assurances that permits would be issued for events to be held in October, the CHS waited as long as possible prior to canceling the event.
However, while all this was going on, two new tablets for participants of the American Revolution had been installed. The first was for Lt. Charles Litomski (sponsored by the Savannah Gen. Pulaski Committee and the American Council for Polish Culture). The second for Col. Michael Kowats (Kowacz), a Hungarian friend and comrade in arms to Casimir Pulaski who came to assist him in America (sponsored by the Pulaski Cadets of Perth Amboy, NJ). Incidentally, on the second tablet, the engraver left out the "i" in "officer," an error he has promised to correct as soon as possible.
With the official ceremony cancelled (see: Battlefield Ceremony 2019 for the last time it took place) the Pulaski Cadets decided to stay home, as did the re-enactors and other guests who had been invited to the battlefield commemoration. The Polish American Society of Charleston, NC also resigned itself to the situation. Among the important guests were the Hungarian Ambassador Szabolcs Takács and Poland's Ambassador Piotr Wilczek. We were saddened to learn later that Ambassador Wilczek's term in Washington DC had come to a close and that he will be replaced by the very capable Marek Magierowski. We look forward to having the new Polish Ambassador join us in the ceremony for 2022.
However, the Polish patriotic organization known as the Kluby Gazety Polskiej (associated with the Gazeta Polska newspaper in Poland) had decided to hold a conference in Savannah and coincidentally attend the Battlefield ceremony. Having earlier booked space at the Hilton Hampton Inn in Savannah and set up internet links for transmission to New York and Warsaw they decided to still come and hold their meetings.
On the morning of Oct. 9th many of the participants in the Gazeta Polska conference came to the battlefield on MLK Boulevard. There Edward Krolikowski, dressed in a dragoon's uniform, styled after the one that Pulaski would have worn, gave explanatory talks about the battle. He also told the history of the site. In an impromptu ceremony the participants sang the Polish and American anthems and placed flowers on the field. Several of the guests present made short declamations on the significance of the event being commemorated. Among the present were Poland's Consul General in New York Adrian Kubicki and Marcin Mazurowski from Poland's Mission to the United Nations. It should be mentioned that Consul Kubicki was there informally as a participant in the Gazeta Polska conference.
During the conference Edward Krolikowski explained the history of Casimir Pulaski in Savannah, while Peter Obst spoke about Polish paintings, currently at Le Moyne college in Syracuse NY, that remained in the United States after the conclusion of the 1939-40 Worlds Fair. All the attendees also bought tickets to a dinner planned by the Savannah Gen. Pulaski Committee. Thus the dinner was not cancelled. It was held at a country club outside the city and was attended by more than 40 persons. The food and service was excellent. Our thanks to Glenn Ball and Edward Krolikowski for organizing this very pleasant social event.
On October 10th the group, after attending mass at Savannah's RC Cathedral, visited Fort Pulaski, a defensive fortification near Savannah, named for Casimir Pulaski. Dating to the early 1800s the fort was obsolete even before its massive bulk was completed. During the American Civil War it was taken by Union Forces without much opposition. The brick and earth walls, though imposing, could not withstand fire from modern rifled cannon. Again, Edward Krolikowski, dressed in his dragoon's uniform, conducted the tour.
For most of the visitors this was their first encounter with Southern hospitality and they enjoyed their time in the city very much. It is hoped that this visit will be repeated, for the complete Battlefield Ceremony, in 2022.
On the Battlefield in Savannah
The restored battlefield with tablet for Poland
Edward Krolikowski explains the history of the battlefield
Lt. Charles Litomski tablet
Col. Michael Kowats tablet
Lecture at the Hotel
Peter Obst presents on the topic of Polish paintings at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY (courtesy of Aneta Adamiak)
At Fort Pulaski
The GAZETA POLSKA Club and friends on the battlements of Ft. Pulaski (courtesy of Aneta Adamiak)
Consul Adrian Kubicki with Edward Krolikowski in his dragoon's uniform
(l. to. r.) Peter Obst, Consul Adrian Kubicki and Edward Krolikowski
Edward Krolikowski explains the function of Ft. Pulaski