US Congressman, Civil War CSA Congressman, 41st South Carolina Governor, US Diplomat. A lawyer and newspaperman, he was elected as a Democrat to represent South Carolina’s 2nd, then 6th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives, serving from 1849 to 1859. From 1857 to 1859 he served as Speaker of the House. In December 1860 he was a delegate to the South Carolina Secession Convention, and signed the state’s Ordnance of Secession. When the Civil War started, he helped raise a regiment of South Carolina infantry that became known as Orr’s Rifles. He was elected Colonel of the unit, and commanded it until his resignation in 1862. He then served briefly as a South Carolina delegate to the Confederate House of Representatives before being elected to the Confederate States Senate in 1862. He served in that seat through the end of the war and the defeat of the Confederacy. In 1865 he was elected as provisional Governor of South Carolina, serving until 1868. During his tenure the state was under Union military rule, and much of the administration of the state came under the auspices of the military commander, Major General Edward R.S. Canby. After his gubernatorial term ended, he was elected by the state legislature as a district judge. In 1872 he was appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant as United States Minister to the Empire of Russia, serving until he died in office in 1873.
Bio by: RPD2
Mary Jane Marshall Orr