Wladimir Krzyzanowski was born in Roznow, in what was known as Russian Poland. His father was a landowner and a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars. He came to America shortly after the Polish Insurrection of 1846.
When President Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for volunteers, Krzyzanowski organized one of the first companies of militia in Washington, D.C. He attempted to expand recruitment to form a Polish Legion for service in the Union Army; but only managed to recruit enough troops for four companies. In the fall of 1861, the War Department combined his original four companies with six others from New York State to form the 58th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, often referred to as the Polish Legion.
During the Battle of Cross Keys, the regiment won renown for itself by saving an endangered Federal Artillery position from certain capture. At one point, Krzyzanowski led the advance against Confederate forces with only a bayonet in his hand for a weapon.
A gallant officer, who distinguished himself at Bull Run. Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, Krzyzanowski was twice passed over for promotion because no one in the Senate could pronounce his name.
Krzyzanowski is interred in Arlington Cemetery.