Patriot Militia General Francis Marion
||Born: 1732; St. John's Parish, Berkeley County, South Carolina
Died: February 26, 1795; Pond's Bluff, South Carolina
Battles: Fort Sullivan
Additional Information: Camden, Charleston, King's Mountain, Charles Cornwallis, Horatio Gates, Nathanael Greene, Henry Lee, William Moultrie, Thomas Sumter, Banastre Tarleton
Early Life: 1732-1775
Francis Marion was born in 1732 in St. John's Parish, Berkeley County, South Carolina. He was the youngest of six children. His grandparents had been French Huguenots, who had arrived in 1690. When he was about six years old, his family moved from St. John's Parish to the area of Georgetown. As a child, he explored the nearby swamps and knew them like the back of his hand. At fifteen, against his parents' wishes, he set sail on a ship bound for the West Indies. The ship sank and Marion spent a week in a lifeboat before it drifted aground. The experience convinced him to give up on becoming a sailor and he became a farmer.
In 1753, when the French and Indian War began, Marion joined a militia company led by his older brother Gabriel. The company did not see any action during their campaign. Eight years later, fighting in the French and Indian War reached South Carolina. In the Cherokee War of 1760-61, Lieutenant Francis Marion served in Captain William Moultrie's company, which participated in Grant's Cherokee Expedition. During the expedition in June 1760, Marion led thirty men as an advance into a known ambush near Echoe. They cleared the way for British regulars in spite of sustaining twenty-one casualties.
Marion had proved himself to be an excellent horseman and marksman during his service in the militia. His accomplishments also moved him to a position of respect within the community. Following the French and Indian War, Marion settled down and established himself as a planter in St. John's Parish. He did well and in 1773, bought a plantation on the Santee River about four miles north of Eutaw Springs, where Thomas Sumter had his store. He called it Pond's Bluff. In 1775, he was elected to the South Carolina Provincial Congress.
Revolutionary War: 1775-1780
When the state senate formed two regiments in 1775, Marion was made Captain of the Second Regiment under William Moultrie on June 17th. Francis Marion served in the Snow Campaign against Tories in November 1775. He participated in the bloodless operations that drove the royal governor from South Carolina. On February 10, he was in Charleston to help with fortifying the harbor. On February 22, he was promoted to Major. On June 28, 1776, Marion served under then Colonel William Moultrie at the Battle of Fort Sullivan. He commanded the left side of the fort and personally aimed the cannons that prevented the British ships from reaching Charleston.
On November 23, 1776, Marion was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. On September 23, 1778, he assumed command of the Second Regiment following William Moultrie's commissioning into the Continental Army. On October 9, 1779, he led his regiment against the British in Savannah, Georgia in an unsuccessful assault. After Maj. General Benjamin Lincoln returned to Charleston, Marion was left in command of the three regiment that remained near Sheldon, South Carolina. On March 19, 1780, he returned to Charleston and resumed command of his own regiment.
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