FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University has obtained the congressional military commission of Revolutionary War hero and university namesake Francis Marion.
The document commissions Francis Marion as lieutenant colonel in the Second South Carolina Regiment of the U.S. Army, effective Sept. 16, 1776.
The document was purchased from Charleston attorney C. Allen Gibson Jr., a descendant of Francis Marion’s sister, Rebecca Marion. Gibson and two of his aunts owned the document. The commission, which has been appraised at $11,500, was passed down through the family for generations.
The commission was purchased below market value, with the remaining value given as a gift by the family to the university. The document measures 30.5 by 18.5 cm, and its condition is “very good,” according to the appraisal.
The text begins “The United States of America in Congress Assembled To Francis Marion Esquire Greeting. We Reposing especial trust and confide[nce] in your Patriotism, Valour, Conduct and Fidelity, Do by these presents constitute and appoint you, to be Lieutenant Colonel Commandant of the Second South Carolina Regiment in the Army of the United States, to take rank as such from the Sixteenth day of September 1776….
Witness His Excellency John Hanson Esq President of the Congress of the United States of America, at Philadelphia the twelfth day of April A.D. 1782 and in the Sixth Year of our Independence.
By Order of Congress
B Lincoln Secretary at War”
The document was evaluated at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. The commission has been re-framed and will be displayed in FMU’s James A. Rogers Library.
“With so few artifacts relating to General Marion in existence, we are thrilled to have obtained this rare historical document,” said FMU president Fred Carter. “The university is pleased to be able to share this important piece of Pee Dee history with the community.”
Francis Marion (c. 1732-1795), nicknamed by the British as “the Swamp Fox,” was a partisan leader in the American Revolution and is one of South Carolina’s best remembered Patriots. “Bloody” Banastre Tarleton tagged Francis Marion that “wily ole’ fox of the swamps” in about 1781, giving rise to Marion’s legend as the master of strategy – never caught, rarely followed, yet seemingly always at hand, just when needed by the partisans.
For more information about Gen. Francis Marion, go to www.fmarion.edu/news/generalmarion
#197 / 6-13-06