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
Francis Marion was born in 1732 near Georgetown, South Carolina and the youngest of six children At 15, he set sail on a ship bound for the West Indies, but the ship sank. In 1753, when the French and Indian War, Marion joined a militia company led by his older brother Gabriel. In the Cherokee War of 1760-61, Marion served in Captain William Moultrie's company where he proved to be an excellent horseman and marksman. After the French and Indian War, Marion established himself as a planter in St. John's Parish and in 1773, bought a plantation on the Santee River. In 1775, he was elected to the South Carolina Provincial Congress.
In 1775, Marion was named Captain of the Second State Regiment under Colonel Moultrie and he also served in Snow's Campaign against Tories. Marion again served under Colonel Moultrie at the Battle of Fort Sullivan in February 1776. In November 1776, he was promoted to Lt. Colonel and in September 1778, he assumed command of the Second State Regiment. In October 1779, he participated in the Second Battle of Savannah, Georgia. In 1780, he escaped capture at the surrender of Charleston because he had broken his ankle jumping from a second floor window the month before.
Following Maj. General Horatio Gates' defeat at the Battle of Camden in August 1780, Marion successfully led a series of raids and skirmishes including Great Savannah in August, Blue Savannah and Black Mingo Creek in September and Tearcoat Swamp in October, although he was turned back at Georgetown in November. He eluded Major James Wemyss in September and Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton in November 1780. In December 1780, he was promoted to brigadier general and put together what would be known as Marion's Brigade, as well as making Snow's Island his base of operations.
Following the arrival of new Southern Department Commander Maj. General Nathanael Greene, Marion conducted some joint operations with Lt. Colonel Henry Lee including another unsuccessful attack on Georgetown in January 1781, as well as successful operations at Fort Watson in April and Fort Motte in May. In March, he got the best of his latest pursuer Lt. Colonel John Watson in several skirmishes. He also participated in Thomas Sumter's failed operation at Quinby Bridge in July 1781, which he followed up with a successful attack at Parker's Ferry in August. He also commanded all the militia at the Battle of Eutaw Springs in September 1781.
Marion became active in politics even before the war ended. His brigade continued to be active throughout 1782 and Marion himself saw his last action in August 1782 at Fair Lawn. Following the war, he was given command of Fort Johnson. He married his cousin in 1786 and attended the Constitutional Convention in 1790. After South Carolina officially joined the Union, Marion retired to his home, Pond's Bluff, where he died on February 27, 1795.
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