Francis Marion

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Marion, Francis (1732?-1795), was an American military leader from South Carolina whose shrewd, daring raids in the Revolutionary War in America won him the nickname of The Swamp Fox. He and his soldiers repeatedly darted out of the marshes to attack the British and Americans who supported them and then vanished before their victims could strike back.

Marion was born in Berkeley County, South Carolina. He spent his youth on his parents' farm near Georgetown, South Carolina. He had his first experience in war as a lieutenant of colonial militia in 1761, when he led an attack against the Cherokee Indians.

In 1775, at the start of the Revolutionary War, Marion became captain of a militia company. He helped defend Charleston, South Carolina, against a British attack in 1776. The British captured Charleston in May 1780. But Marion had left the city before it surrendered.

Few American troops remained in South Carolina after the British won the Battle of Camden in August 1780.

Marion could form only a band of fighters, which was too small to fight the British in open battle. So he used the band as guerrillas, favoring ambushes and sudden raids. Ammunition was scarce. In many battles, each soldier often carried no more than three rounds.

Marion's band hid on Snow Island in the Pee Dee River, in northeastern South Carolina. From there, he and his soldiers made lightning-quick raids on British communications and supply depots and rescued captured Americans.

British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton spent much time chasing Marion through the swamps but could not catch him. For this reason, Tarleton gave Marion his nickname. After the war, Marion served several terms in the South Carolina Senate. He died on his plantation at Pond Bluff.

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