American Revolution - Highlights - MARION'S BRIGADE

MARION'S BRIGADE (Illustration) American History Famous Historical Events Famous People Geography Social Studies Revolutionary Wars American Revolution

Nearly a century after General Francis Marion—known as “The Swamp Fox”—eluded capture by the British as he and his band of “irregulars” traversed the Carolina swamps, Currier & Ives produced this commemorative lithograph. Published in New York, circa 1876, the image has this summary from the Library of Congress (where it is maintained): “Print shows General Francis Marion offering to share his meal of sweet potatoes and water with a British officer.”


At about the time Benedict Arnold was negotiating a deal to harm the American cause in the North, British victories were demoralizing the South. Momentum in favor of the patriots had gone downhill since their decisive win at Sullivan's Island early in the war (1776).

Neither American successes (like the battle of Saratoga where General Burgoyne and his Redcoats were routed) nor the beginnings of patriot support from European powers (like France) greatly worried the British government.  The King, and his men, believed their troops would hold the South.

To make matters worse, southern families were divided. Loyalist fathers were pitted against patriot sons while brothers and cousins fought against each other. Charleston, once the fourth largest (and richest) city of the colonies was besieged and fell to the British in May of 1780.

Within months, South Carolina was the scene of more American disasters: Waxhaws; Camden; Fishing Creek. By the end of the summer, there wasn't much of a Continental Army left in South Carolina.

But just as soon as the British and their young victorious general, Banastre Tarleton, were confident they would hold their southern prize, a South Carolina patriot forever changed the momentum of war in the South. Francis Marion and his troop of 150 men (known as "Marion's Brigade") would soon chase the Redcoats out of South Carolina, setting up the final British defeat at Yorktown.

Not bothered by his lack of men and supplies, Marion brilliantly used a weapon unknown to the British: the swamps, waterways and marshes of the South Carolina low country. Employing guerilla tactics to harass the enemy, Marion and his men would strike without warning and then disappear into the swamps.

Tarleton, previously feared by southerners for his brutal and bloody attacks, was exasperated when his communications were interrupted, his supply lines were cut off and his hold on the south slipped away. Powerless to stop the constant unconventional attacks,

The British soldier trembles
When Marion's name is told.

The Redcoats could not capture Francis Marion. He and his men were never defeated. Tarleton called him the "swamp fox."

By the time Marion and his men forced a Redcoat retreat to a battleground called Cowpens, near the North Carolina border, ultimate victory was within the patriots' grasp.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Feb 28, 2015

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"MARION'S BRIGADE" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jan 18, 2020.
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