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Francis Marion, also known as the "Swamp Fox," was a veteran of the United States military (Bass 9). Marion is revered in American history for his enormous contribution to the American Revolutionary War.
Francis Marion was born in Berkeley County, South Carolina in 1732. (Bass 10). His parents owned vast plantations that relied on freed slave labor for cheap labor. Marion started his military service when he was 24 years old, and on January 1, 1757, he was called to fight in the French and Indian War by Captain John Postell. Besides being recruited to discharge his military duties during the war, Marion was also tasked with the responsibility of driving away Cherokee Indians residing within the borders.
In terms of military career growth Marion experiences significant growth which was evidenced by clinching various military ranks. For example on June 21, 1775 he was appointed the captain of 2nd South Carolina Regiment under leadership of William Moultrie. Similarly, in September 1776, he was promoted to be lieutenant colonel by Continental Congress (Bass 33). In 1779, Marion participated in siege of Savannah, a military operation (Franco-American) that was aimed at gaining control of Georgia City. Unfortunately, the operation never succeeded.
In 1780, Charleston, a military base where Marion was stationed was sieged by British military forces under the leadership of Henry Clinton. The British expedition captured all military officers who were present in Charleston harbor. However, Francis Marion was not captured since he had gone to seek medical treatment for his broken ankle outside Charleston harbor.
After the siege of Charleston, Marion formed a small militia group consisting of between20 to 70 military men (Bass 20). When he was forming the military group Marion was still nursing ankle injuries. Consequently, he together with his military men could not stage strong and effective rebellions against the British military forces who had taken control over the State.
After participating in the war against British expedition, Marion returned to his plantation. Surprisingly, he was shocked to find that the plantation had been destroyed by fire and the slaves had gone to offer their support to British army (Bass 52). As a result he resonated to borrow funds to restore his plantation and slaves.
Francis Marion got married to Mary Esther Videau (Marion’s cousin) immediately the war ended. Marion served in South Carolina State Senate for several terms. In 1784, He was honored for his exemplary services by being appointed as commander of Fort Johnson, South Carolina. In 1795, Marion died while at his home (Bass 70). By the time of his death he was 63 years old and was buried at Belle Isle Plantation Cemetery in Berkeley County, South Carolina.
Marion is remembered in the history of United States for his military contributions in American revolutionary war (Conway 51). In fact, he fought tireless and with total dedication in ensuring that American citizens gain sovereignty. He indeed maintained hope for citizens of South Carolina State during the difficult and dark days of American revolutionary war (Conway 49). Some of remarkable contributions Marion made during the revolutionary war include:
Francis Marion formed a small militia group which opposed and attacked British army. Marion and his men engaged in battle fields with British troops without pay. In addition, the militia group purchased its own horses, arms and food during American revolutionary war (Wilson 45). Marion and his men employed use of guerilla war technique which proved successful in suppressing British army. Significantly, Marion is regarded as co-founder of guerilla fighting style (Wilson 24). Marion’s militia men seldom engaged in frontal fights with their enemies, instead they organized quick surprise attacks on British military and their loyalists. Likewise, the group practiced quick withdrawal strategy which made it difficult for British garrison to plan revenge attacks. Marion men ruthless defeated British troops who attempted to capture Williamsburg region (currently referred as Pee Dee) in Black Mingo Battle.
In November 1780, Colonel Banastre Tarleton was sent to siege Marion. However, Marion and his men successfully evaded Tarleton by running and hide along swamp paths. Colonel Tarleton could not cope up with swampy conditions and after unfruitful pursuing the group for more than twenty six miles through the swamp he surrendered (Wilson 47). Tarleton contemplated his failure to capture Marion and even confessed that Devil could not catch him. It is Tarleton who nicknamed Marion as ‘’Swamp Fox.’’ Despite British administration hating and considering Marion as a nuisance to their administration they were unable to get rid of him. Shockingly, Marion was appointed as a brigadier general of state troops by British governor, John Rutledge. While serving as brigadier general, Marion was also tasked with responsibility of eliminating freed slaves fighting for British.
In April 1781, Marion and Lieutenant Colonel Henry Lee managed to capture Fort Motte and Fort Watson previously under British government rule (Wilson 32). Nevertheless, they successfully destroyed communication lines for British in Carolinas. On 31, August, 1781, Marion evacuated small American force captured by about five hundred British troops (Conway 60).
In conclusion Francis Marion aided in achievement of United State freedom and sovereignty by selfless and heartedly fighting British rule (Conway 21). Indeed, the British colonial government hated Marion for his guerilla war tactic and threats he issued to them. Marion had excellent intelligence gathering as compared to British soldiers, a factor that greatly contributed to his success in battle fields with enemies (Wilson 30). Owing to his immense contribution in United States, many prominent landmarks have been named after him for example, Francis Marion National Forest close to Charleston, Marion County and many others. In fact, Francis Marion was true American liberator, ‘’Well now this exactly is my case. I am in love and my sweetheart is LIBERTY. Be that heavenly nymph my companion and these wilds and woods shall have charms beyond London and Paris in slavery’’ (Marion)
Bass, Robert Duncan. Swamp Fox: the life and campaigns of General Francis Marion. Holt, 1959.
Conway, Stephen. "To Subdue America: British Army Officers and the Conduct of the Revolutionary War." The William and Mary Quarterly: A Magazine of Early American History and Culture (1986): 381-407.
Wilson, Daniel H. General Francis Marion: The Swamp Fox and Marine Corps Warfighting Doctrine. MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA, 2001.
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