John Laurens | History of SC Slide Collection

John Laurens

John Laurens (c1755-1782) was the son of Continental Congress President Henry Laurens, and aide-de-camp to George Washington. Born in South Carolina, Laurens went to London to study law, but returned in 1777 to aid the revolutionary effort as a member of George Washington's staff. He fought in the campaigns at Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. During the siege of Charleston in 1780, he was taken prisoner, but was later exchanged. After serving as Special Minister to the court of Versailles for six months, Laurens took part in the siege at Yorktown. After the American victory, he served as a representative of the Americans at the negotiations of the British surrender. Laurens was killed during a skirmish with British troops at Combahee Ferry, in South Carolina, on August 22, 1782. Laurens died the year the artist of this miniature, Charles Fraser was born (1782-1860, see Charles Fraser); the caption penned beneath the portrait, "Pro patria non timidus mori," suggests that it was meant as a commemorative patriotic exercise when done about 1802.

Courtesy of the Gibbes Museum of Art/Carolina Art Association.

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