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John Laurens was born in Charleston, South Carolina to Henry and Elanor. His father was a slave trader, one of the largest in the country.
After the death of his mother his father sent him to England for his education. His interest was in science and medicine, but he yielded to his father’s wishes and studied law. When he returned to the colonies he joined General George Washington as a volunteer at the age of 23.
He distinguished himself at the Battle of Brandywine. When General Charles Lee slandered Washington he challenged him to a duel. Neither man was killed however, Lee was wounded by Laurens shot. In 1779, he was involved in the Battles for Charleston and Savannah. In 1781, he accompanied Thomas Paine on a mission to France. When he returned later that year he was given command of a light infantry at the Siege of Yorktown. When the commander was killed became the principal spokesman for General Cornwallis’s surrender.
In 1782, during the Battle of Combahee River he was wounded and died a few weeks later. What you may not know about John Laurens is that he is best known for his criticism of slavery and efforts to help recruit slaves ... more
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