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Monday, December 15, 2008

Francis Marion Was "The Swamp Fox"

By Rocky Wilson
Author of Sharene:
Death: A Prerequisite For Life

Francis Marion was “The Swamp Fox”

Francis Marion was “The Swamp Fox” of the Revolutionary War, and that title was given to him because of his ability to attack at night, harass British occupation troops near Charleston, South Carolina, then retreat back into swamps where the British couldn‘t follow him safely.
Marion (1732-1795) , who also became a national political leader from South Carolina, exercised the use of guerilla warfare tactics long before such military practices became commonly used to fight seemingly superior forces. And the British government suffered extensively because of his expertise in that field.

The reportedly quiet and moody leader was born and died in the same South Carolina county just northeast of Charleston near the Atlantic Ocean where many of his greatest battles were fought; where Marion had the upper hand over every foe because of his superior knowledge of the swamplands.

His biggest impact on the Revolutionary War came in 1780, after the British had recaptured Charleston, when nearly all Americans had excited the state of South Carolina except Marion and a small force of poorly equipped, underfed men whom he trained to attack and capture British troops, sabotage communication and supply lines, and rescue American prisoners.

Marion’s nickname, “The Swamp Fox,” was introduced by British Colonel Bonastre Tarleton.

Important dates in the life of Francis Marion include:

* 1732 youngest of six children

* 1753 Joins militia, but sees no military action

* 1759 Family moves to Eutaw Springs, later site of bloody Revolutionary War battle

* 1773 Buys plantation with inheritance money, successful grower

* 1778 Assumes command Second South Carolina regiment

* 1779 Distinguishes self at Second battle of Savanna

* 1780 British Major General tries in vain to capture or kill Marion

* 1786 Marriage to Mary Ellen Vidreau

* 1790 Voted Representative to South Carolina Continental Convention

* 1795 Death in Franklin County, South Carolina

Marion was the descendent of French Huguenots who settled along the Santee River, and received a rural education.

His military and political careers, at times, were intertwined, but he always was filled with a need for new adventure, new challenges. An example of that came in 1747 when, at age fifteen, he made an adventuresome effort to sail to West Indies.

Although little of note is known about the man’s early years, Francis Marion is such a legend in South Carolina that, among other things, both a National Forest and a state college are named after him.

The 250,000-acre, more than 50-mile-long Francis Marion National Forest is just northeast of Charleston almost touching the Atlantic Ocean, and still in recovery from Hurricane Hugo, which devastated that coastline nearly 20 years-ago.

Located inland in Florence, South Carolina, Francis Marion University has a total enrollment of about 900 students, and specializes in the instruction of liberal arts, business, and education.

In summary, Francis Marion was an unknown private who rose from the military ranks to become a Brigadier General.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed your post re: Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. We are a publisher of my wife's picture books for children, and one of our most popular books is Francis Marion and the Legend of the Swamp Fox. For more info on this book and others about the Revolutionary War that we have published, see Thanks, Jim Palmer, President of Warbranch Press, Inc.