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Marion, Francis (1732-1795) to John Saunders

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03332.01 Author/Creator: Marion, Francis (1732-1795) Place Written: near Georgetown, South Carolina Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 7 March 1781 Pagination: 2 p. : address ; 24 x 19.2 cm.

Written by Marion as Brigadier General of militia and a well-known partisan to Saunders as a Royalist Captain in the British Army and commander of the garrison at Georgetown, South Carolina. Marion writes with anger that Captain John Postell was taken prisoner by Saunders. Postell was travelling under a flag of truce to work out details of prisoner exchange. Demands satisfaction and claims he will retaliate against any British prisoners of war. Also expresses dismay that Saunders is treating prisoners harshly. Says Captain Clark was held in circumstances where he could not stand up or stretch out his full length and that he was being given half rations. Says he needs to release Postell to avoid retaliation. Saunders held Postell because he was in violation of a parole he was given after the American defeat at Charleston in May 1780. Soon thereafter Marion captured Thomas Merritt of the Queens Rangers in retaliation. Merritt was imprisoned in a log hut, but managed to escape and traverse the 50 miles back to Georgetown where he was offered a promotion for his actions. Merritt turned down the promotion and stayed with his unit until the war ended.

7th March 1781 -
By my Orders Lt Col. Ervin sent Captn John Postell with a flagg to Exchange the men
you agreed to, and am greatly Surprised, to find you not only refused to make the Exchange but
have Violated my flagg by taking Capt.n Postell Prisoner, contrary to the Laws of Nations - I shall immediately acquaint the commandant of Chs. town, & if Satisfaction is not given I will take it in every Instants that may fall in my power -
I have ever used all the officers and men taken by me with humanity but your
conduct is closely conferring Capt.n Clark in a place where he cannot stand up nor have his Length, & not Giving him half rations, will oblige me [2] to retaliate on the Officers & men which [struck: is] or may fall in my hands which nothing will prevent but your releasing Capt.n Postell, immediately, and using my Officers or Gentt; & [struck: my] [inserted: your] prisoners as Customary in all Civilized nations -
I am Sr.Yr Ob Sr
Frans Marion
Brigadr. Genl. Militia
in Ameri Service

Captn Saunders

[address leaf]
Cap.tn, John Saunders
Commanding in George - Town
Fran Marion

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