Jan Henryk Dabrowski
Dąbrowski, Jan Henryk
Born Aug. 2 or 29, 1755, in Pierzchowiec; died June 6, 1818, in Winnogóra. Polish general and founder of the Polish Legions.
Dabrowski served in the Saxon Army from 1770 to 1792 and in the Polish Army from 1792. He took part in the Polish Uprising of 1794, distinguished himself during the defense of Warsaw, and showed himself a skillful commander in the campaign against the Prussian troops in Great Poland. After the third partition of Poland (1795), he emigrated to France, whose aid he tried to enlist for the restoration of Polish independence.
In 1797 Dabrowski formed the Polish Legions in Italy; he commanded them in France’s war in Italy against the coalition of European powers. He led an uprising in the western provinces of Poland in 1806 and distinguished himself in the capture of Danzig (Gdansk) and at Friedland. In 1812, Dabrowski commanded a Polish division in Napoleon’s campaign in Russia, fought near Bobruisk, and covered the retreat of Napoleon’s army at Berezina. After fighting in the campaign in Germany in 1813, he returned to Poland in 1814. When the Polish Kingdom was formed as part of Russia in 1815, Dabrowski became a member of the Polish Military Committee, participated in reorganizing the Polish Army, and was made general of cavalry in 1815. He retired in 1816. Dabrowski was noted for his great bravery and his talent for organization, and he was popular among his troops. The patriotic song of Dąbrowski’s legions, “Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła” (Poland has not yet perished), later became the Polish national anthem.