Marion, Francis

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Marion, Francis

(mâr`ēən), c.1732–1795, American Revolutionary soldier, known as the Swamp Fox, b. near Georgetown, S.C. He was a planter and Indian fighter before joining (1775) William Moultrie's regiment at the start of the American Revolution. In 1779 he fought under Benjamin Lincoln at Savannah and escaped (1780) capture at Charleston by being on sick leave. Marion organized a troop (1780), which, after the American defeat at Camden in the Carolina campaign, constituted the chief colonial force in South Carolina. Engaging in guerrilla warfare, he disrupted the British lines of communication, captured scouting and foraging parties, and intimidated Loyalists. His habit of disappearing into the swamps to elude the British earned him his nickname. When Nathanael Greene had succeeded in ousting the British from North Carolina (see Carolina campaignCarolina campaign,
1780–81, of the American Revolution. After Sir Henry Clinton had captured Charleston, he returned to New York, leaving a British force under Cornwallis to subordinate the Carolinas to British control.
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), his lieutenant, Light-Horse Harry Lee, brought reinforcements to Marion, and they took part together in several battles, notably that at Eutaw Springs (Sept. 8, 1781). After the war, Marion served in the South Carolina senate, where he advocated a lenient policy toward the Loyalists.

Bibliography

See biographies by W. G. Simms (1844, repr. 1971) and H. F. Rankin (1973).

Marion, Francis

(1732–1795) Revolutionary general, nick-named the “Swamp Fox.” [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 308]
See: Cunning

Marion, Francis

(c. 1732–95) soldier; born in Berkeley County, S.C. A planter, he had fought against the Cherokees in 1759 and 1761, and when the American Revolution began, he volunteered and led "irregulars" in several engagements; because his sprained ankle had led him to leave Charleston, S.C., before its surrender to the British, he was available to command the remaining resistance in South Carolina after the colonials' loss at Camden, S.C. Known as the "Swamp Fox" because the British Col. Tarleton called him "this damned old fox" and because he operated out of a secret hideout on a river island, he used guerrilla tactics to strike at stronger British and Loyalist forces, disrupting enemy communications, capturing supplies, and freeing prisoners before disappearing into the wilderness. From 1781 on he led his troops under Gen. Nathanael Greene. After the war, he served in the South Carolina senate and commanded Fort Johnson in Charleston harbor (1784–90).
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The US Marine Corps veteran of the War on Terrorism considers the Swamp Fox a role model from whom lessons on leadership and military tactics known today as information operations in irregular warfare can still be drawn.
It was also how George Washington endured the winter at Valley Forge, before going on, with help from the American guerrilla Francis Marion, known as the Swamp Fox, to outlast the British resolve to continue the war.
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