The Patriot Resource - American Revolution


Patriot Militia General Francis Marion
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: March-July 1781
General Cornwallis' Response: March 1781
Lt. Colonel John Watson was sent after Francis Marion, but Marion got the best of him at Wiboo Swamp, Lower Bridge and crossing the Sampit River. The last action saw Watson's horse and twenty of his men killed. It also drove the British out of Marion's district. During this same time, Colonel Welbore Doyle destroyed Marion's base at Snow's Island. Lt. Colonel Hugh Horry pursued Doyle until Doyle burned his baggage train and quickly made for Camden, South Carolina.


Fort Watson: April 15-23, 1781
On April 14, 1781, Marion joined up with Lt. Colonel Henry Lee's Legion at Black River. He only now had 80 men as the rest had returned home. The next day they made for Fort Watson, a part of the British line of communications from Charleston, which was sixty miles to the southeast. It was located on an Indian mound on the edge of Scott's Lake. Lieutenant McKay commanded eighty British regulars and forty Tories. After the call for surrender was refused, the rebels captured the water supply, but the garrison dug a well. They had no siege artillery, but then Hezekiah Maham proposed building a tower. After five days the tower was completed and allowed the rebels to fire down into the stockade, which was then forced to surrender.


Fort Motte, South Carolina: May 12, 1781
On May 8, 1781, Marion and Lt. Colonel Lee arrived at Fort Motte, South Carolina. It was a strategically located mansion at the point where the Congaree and Wateree joined to form the Santee River. It had been fortified and held by British Lt. McPherson with over 150 men. On May 10, the call for surrender was refused and that evening, the rebels learned that Lord Rawdon was retreating toward Fort Motte.

After three days of regular approaches and with Lord Rawdon approaching, Lee decided to fire flaming arrows onto the mansion's roof and burn the British out. When Mrs. Motte was informed of the plan, she not only did not protest, but even offered up an East Indian bow and a set of arrows. On the morning of May 12th, surrender was again called for and refused. By noon, the rebel trenches were close enough for two arrows to be fired onto the roof. The defenders were prevented from putting out the fire by artillery fire and by 1:00 P.M. the garrison had surrendered and the fire was extinguished.


Operations: May-July 1781
On May 28, 1781, Marion occupied Georgetown, South Carolina. He then moved south to support attacks on August, Goergia and Ninety-Six, South Carolina. Marion was thwarted by Lt. Colonel Alexander Stewart in his attempt to block Stewart from reinforcing Lord Rawdon at Orangeburg. While General Greene was resting his troops in the Santee Hills, both Lt. Colonel Lee and Marion came under Thomas Sumter's command. Marion had previously avoided serving under Sumter because of concerns over planning and strategy.








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