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
Southern Campaign: September - November 1780
Blue Savannah, South Carolina: September 4, 1780 - Continued
Francis Marion's advance guard routed an advance guard of forty-five Tories under the personal command of Ganey. After seeing that the remaining 200 Tories under Captain Jesse Barefield had formed up for battle, Marion retreated to Blue Savannah, South Carolina where he circled up for a ambuscade. He then led a sudden charge that dispersed the Tories after they had managed to only fire one volley. This victory dispirited the Tories east of the Peedee River and brought in another sixty men to Marion's banner.
Black Mingo Creek, South Carolina: September 29, 1780
Tory Colonel John Coming Ball had taken up a position near Shepherd's Ferry on Black Mingo Creek about twnety miles northwest of Georgetown, South Carolina. He had forty-six men posted there as an advance outpost. Marion learned of this and set out from Port's Ferry for a surprise attack. A sentinel heard his men crossing Willtown Bridge, which was a mile from Shepherd's Ferry, and Marion lost the element of surprise. He pressed the attack anyway as Ball prepared for the assault. Marion sent dismounted troops under Major Hugh Horry on the right (western) side, a small mounted detachment on the left (eastern) side. Several officers under Captain Thomas Waites moved in the center against Dollard's Tavern, while Marion himself followed with the reserves.
Colonel Ball had formed his men up in the field that Horry was advancing through. Ball held his fire until Marion's men were within thirty yards. When they fired, they cut down Captain George Logan and severely wounded Captain Henry Mouzon and Lieutenant John Scott. Horry's troops started to retreat, but Captain John James held his troops in order, rallied Mouzon's men and began to advance. When Waites turned against the Tory right flank, the Tories became dispirited and soon were routed. Marion captured a sorrel gelding. He would name the horse Ball after its previous owner and would ride it for the rest of the war.
Tearcoat Swamp, South Carolina: October 26, 1780
Even though he had been defeated at the Battle of Camden, South Carolina in August 1780 and had undertaken no major offensive operations since, Maj. General Horatio Gates had instructed Marion to continue harrassing the British rear. On October 24, Marion learned that Colonel Samuel Tynes was assembling Tory militia near Tearcoat Swamp (also known as Tarcoat Swamp), South Carolina. He left his base at Port's Ferry with the 152 men that he now had raised and surprised Tynes just after midnight. He routed the Tories, captured 80 muskets and horses with bridles and saddles, and many of the Tories even joined him. It ended the Tory uprising in the area.
General Cornwallis' Response
On October 7, 1780, Lt. General Charles Cornwallis' flanking force of Tories under the command of Major Patrick Ferguson was completely destroyed at the Battle of King's Mountain, South Carolina. With Ferguson gone, the successful militia operations of Marion became much more worrysome to Cornwallis, so in late October, he sent Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton after Marion. During the first two weeks of November, Tarleton unsuccessfully tracked Marion and was credited with saying that it was impossible to catch the old 'swamp fox' and the nickname stuck.
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