2018-04-13 / Society

Museum receives sword from second-in-command to Francis Marion, Peter Horry

Contributed by South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum


Sword owned by Peter Horry during the American Revolutionary War Sword owned by Peter Horry during the American Revolutionary War Peter Horry was one of the first South Carolinians to join the Patriot cause after the Revolutionary War broke out in 1775. He would win fame as second-in-command to Francis Marion, the legendary Swamp Fox.

Horry, a planter who, like Marion, was of Huguenot descent, belonged to a family that would eventually own four rice plantations in what is now Georgetown County.

After the war, he would marry into the Guignard family and build a home in Columbia. Today that house, located on the grounds of the University of South Carolina Law School, is celebrated as one of the oldest dwelling places in the city.

Now, the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum owns a piece of related history— a sword owned by Horry after the war. The sword is of a style developed in the 1780s for British officers and adopted by Americans soon after. It was probably presented to Horry in the 1790s when he was a general in the South Carolina militia.

Fritz Hamer, curator of history at the museum, said the museum was recently approached by the owner of the sword with an offer to sell it. The museum completed the purchase with the help of the nonprofit South Carolina Arms Collectors Association. The sword went on exhibit at the museum starting April 2.

Horry, elected a captain at the start of the war, was serving in the 2nd regiment with Marion until the fall of Charleston. The two officers headed to North Carolina and reported to General Horatio Gates. “Gates was not impressed with either him or Marion,” said Hamer. “They were not dressed right in proper Continental uniforms.”

Gates sent them back down to South Carolina with an assignment to collect intelligence. Eventually, Marion recruited a small band of militia and went on to become a legend harrying the British forces in the area.

After the war, Horry served as a general in the South Carolina militia, until his retirement in 1806. He is believed to have built the house on Senate Street before 1813, after leaving behind his Georgetown plantations to live in Columbia with his second wife.

“He didn’t like Columbia as a place to live,” said Hamer, “and spent a good bit of his time on a farm he owned located near what is now the Shandon neighborhood of Columbia, or perhaps a bit farther out.”

Peter Horry died in 1815.

About the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum

Founded in 1896, the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum is an accredited museum focusing on South Carolina’s distinguished martial tradition through the Revolutionary War, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, the War on Terror, and other American conflicts.

It serves as the state’s military history museum by collecting, preserving, and exhibiting South Carolina’s military heritage from the colonial era to the present and by providing superior educational experiences and programming. It is located at 301 Gervais Street in Columbia, sharing the Columbia Mills building with the State Museum. For more information, go to crr.sc.gov/.

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