Casimir Pulaski, who was born in Poland in 1745 to a noble family, was from a young age a staunch fighter for independence in his native Poland. As a young man, he fought against the Russian domination of Poland as part of the Bar Confederation. When this movement proved unsuccessful, he sought asylum in France, but this transition proved tenuous at best. Upon recruitment from Benjamin Franklin and Marquis de Lafayette, he emigrated to America in 1776 to take on the revolutionary cause. Pulaski, a skilled military leader and horseman, was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in command of cavalry on September 15, 1777.
In the spring of 1778, Pulaski visited Bethlehem with his cavalry unit. Legend has it that he so enchanted the Moravian Sisters (single women of the Moravian Church) with his chivalry that they embroidered him a banner. While some speculation exists if the banner truly was made in honor for Pulaski or if he merely ordered it made himself, the fact remains he carried it with him on the battlefield until his untimely death in Savannah in 1779. The silk banner, attributed to the design of Rebecca Langly was later immortalized in a Longfellow poem.
Sources: Levering, Joseph M. A History of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 1741-1892. Times Publishing: Bethlehem, 1903; “Casimir Pulaski.” National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. April 14, 2015: www.nps.gov/fopu/learn/historyculture/casimir-pulaski.htm.