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: July-December 1781
Quinby Bridge, South Carolina: July 17, 1781
Both Lt. Colonel Henry Lee and Francis Marion found themselves under Thomas Sumter's command for operations. Sumter selected the British outpost under the command of Lt. Colonel John Coates at Monck's Corner, South Carolina. On July 14, Coates withdrew to near Biggin Church. At around 3:00 A.M. on July 17, he burned the church even though the it was a strong position. He took up a position eighteen miles down the Cooper River at Quinby Bridge.
Lt. Colonel Coates had loosened the planks of the bridge, but was waiting for his rear guard and baggage to arrive before he removed them. However, Lt. Colonel Lee had already captured his rear guard. Captain Armstrong followed by Lieutenant Carrington charged across the bridge to surprise the British, but Captain O'Neal was unable to cross because the planks had been dislodged. The British infantry rallied, forcing Armstrong and Carrington to withdraw, ending the advance action. Marion and Lt. Colonel Lee arrived and decided that the British position was too strong to attack, but when Sumter arrived at around 5:00 P.M., he decided to attack anyway.
Sumter formed up with Marion's infantry on the left, Colonel Thomas Taylor's militia regiment and his own men in the middle and Colonel Peter Horry's cavalry on the right. Taylor charged across the field, but was driven back. Marion's infantry then tried to hold the position that Taylor had withdrawn from, but they too were driven back. Meanwhile, Sumter's men had stayed behind the protection of buildings and he had failed to bring artillery forward. Colonel Taylor was disgusted by Sumter's lack of support and told him that he would no long serve under him. Marion and Lee retreated fifteen miles. On July 18, they both left Sumter. 700 British troops were on their way to reinforce Lt. Colonel Coates and Sumter was unable to hold his position.
Parker's Ferry, South Carolina: August 13, 1781
After covering 100 miles with 200 men at night, Marion joined Colonel William Harden on August 13, 1781. He did so because Major Thomas Fraser was arriving with 200 dragoons to support 450 Tories. Marion then sent his fastest riders to draw Fraser into a trap. Fraser chased Marion's men and was struck by a surprise volley at a distance of fifty yards. He rallied his men and was hit by a second volley and finally a third volley. Though he had inflicted heavy casualties, Marion was running low on ammunition, so he had to withdraw.
Battle of Eutaw Springs, South Carolina: September 8, 1781
Marion next marched 400 miles to join Maj. General Nathanael Greene on his approach to Eutaw Springs, where Lt. Colonel Alexander Stewart had a British army force. Greene gave Marion command of the combined North and South Carolina militia. Marion demonstrated strong leadership. Both General Greene and Baron von Steuben were complimentary of the conduct of the militia at this battle.
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