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At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Marion, Francis (1732-1795) to John Saunders

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: 1

Summary of Content: 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.


Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Keywords/Subjects: Revolutionary War, Revolutionary War General, Military History, Global History and US Foreign Policy, Global History and US Foreign Policy, Prisoner of War, Truce, Military Provisions, Diet and nutrition, Parole, Militia, Guerrilla Warfare, Prison Camp

Sub Era: The War for Independence