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A Picture from History: Francis Marion

The War for Independence raged.

After years of kidnappings, wrongful imprisonments, and their countrymen incited against them, 56 brave men signed the Declaration of Independence.

Signing of Declaration of Independence
Signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Enough was enough, and the British were just about to find out what that meant.

Down in South Carolina, that meant dealing with Francis Marion.

The Forging of a Hero

Had it not been for a series of eventful happenings within his life, America would likely never come to know Francis Marion’s capabilities.

While returning from the West Indies at the age of 15 aboard a schooner, a whale struck the ship, sinking it.

Marion spent a week at sea aboard a lifeboat with other survivors as they struggled to get back to land.

Francis Marion
Francis Marion

The lifeboat made it back, but Marion witnessed two men die of thirst along the way. As a result, he spent the rest of his life on land.

Nine years later, the French and Indian War enveloped the nation.

Marion was thrown into combat for the British, quickly learning that England’s method of fighting was completely outdated.

General Wolf at French Indian War
General Wolf during the French Indian War.

Lining up in row after row while wearing bright red clothing did nothing more than to say, “shoot here.”

Meanwhile, Cherokee fighters would use cover, hiding themselves during battle. This tactic minimized casualties as they fought.

Marion took note of such, never forgetting what he saw.

The Fight Against Tyranny

The year was 1780, and the War for Independence was four years in.

Boston Massacre
British slaughtering Americans during the Boston Massacre.

After a recent victory, Marion and a group of men celebrated inside a two-story structure. After celebrating, Marion attempts to leave the party and, in the process, breaks his ankle jumping out of a window.

War is a bad time for an injury, yet Marion does what he can to cope, heading back to his estate to recover.

However, the timing for his broken bone worked out perfectly. What he sees as a personal setback actually kept him alive and in the fight.

Mel Gibson Patriot
Mel Gibson’s character in The Patriot was based on Marion.

British forces capture Charlestown shortly after the incident. Had Marion been healthy and whole, he likely would have been killed or captured in the fight.

Upon hearing the news of Charlestown’s fall, Marion grew furious.

Francis Marion on Horseback
Francis Marion on horseback.

Further intel revealed that several Americans were taken prisoner in the attack, kept in an encampment not far away.

Despite his broken ankle and his inability to walk, Marion rounded up 50 like-minded patriots.

Tonight, They Are Going to Save American Lives.

Hiding in dense foliage, his men sneak up on the rear of the British encampment using tactics Marion learned from the Cherokee.

They engage the enemy, quickly rescuing 150 fellow patriots.

Marion Leading Militia
Marion his militia on horseback.

And for Marion, that’s only the beginning.

The Marion Militia continued its guerilla warfare campaign throughout the South. Ultimately, they proved so effective against the world’s premier military force that the Brits sent Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton into the swamp to find him.

Banastre Tarleton (Artwork: Joshua Reynolds)
Banastre Tarleton

Banastre was known to bayonet surrendering men and burn down homes.

Tarleton hunted Marion’s Militia for 26 miles through the swamps of the South – a long distance in a world of horses. Yet, he was unable to put chains or a rifle sight on the man.

Exasperated, Tarleton gave up, realizing it’s hard to catch a fox. And thus, Marion earns his new nom de guerre — The Swamp Fox.

The Patriot
Remember this dude from The Patriot? His character was loosely based on Banastre, among others.

The Cost of American Patriotism

As the War for Independence drew to a close, Marion finally returned home…with one problem.

Home wasn’t there.

The Battle of Long Island
Americans lost many things during the war including their lives and homes. (Photo: The Battle of Long Island)

While he fought, the British burned his home to the ground.

Americans can call themselves free because of men like Francis Marion. This Independence Day, remember that sacrifice.

This is a new style of article for Pew Pew Tactical, if you liked it — let us know in the comments! If you didn’t enjoy it…well phooey. To catch up on previous Pictures From History, click on over to our History Category.

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18 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Eldon Cannon

    I like these articles. Keep them coming

    July 22, 2021 8:17 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    David Tooze

    Thumbs up!!!!

    July 9, 2021 5:25 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Great. Need more like it

    July 6, 2021 12:10 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Love the history articles.

    July 5, 2021 4:32 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Robert Ellis

    I liked the brief history lesson. I would like to read more about "The Swamp Fox" and those who served with him.

    GOD BLESS AMERICA and those men and women who made her what she is today!!!!

    July 4, 2021 4:01 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    James Byers

    Loved the “Swamp Fox” article
    Keep ‘em coming!

    July 4, 2021 2:22 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dennis Jas

    Love the history. Keep that up.

    July 4, 2021 1:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Good story! Very neat to know the Patriot was based on historical events and people.
    Look forward to seeing more articles!

    July 4, 2021 12:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Len Chelius

    I grew up thinking the "Swamp Fox" was the coolest warrior ever after seeing him on a TV episode of Walt Disney World. (am I showing my age yet)

    July 4, 2021 11:35 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Kurt S

      Len: I well remember the Disney production of 'The Swamp Fox'. So mebbe we're both showing our age? I was particularly entranced by the show because a couple of my ancestors rode with Marion.

      July 4, 2021 12:33 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Terry Cook

    Like the history story. Keep it up!

    July 4, 2021 11:32 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Thanks for the History. If only these stories of brave people we owe Our Country to were taught in our schools there might be a better understanding of our foundation.

    July 4, 2021 11:27 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Manuel Perez

    Excellent article of History!! Our youth should read these as they probably have not read about this in school recently with schools eliminating most of our History from the classrooms...

    July 4, 2021 11:25 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Agree with the first few comments; I enjoyed it and more like this please.

    July 4, 2021 11:11 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Christine M Marshall

    What a great surprise! I enjoyed the article - please include more in the future. It was a nice addition to the straight-forward guns/ammo product, sales, and training stuff. Perhaps future articles could cover the types of arms and ammo used at certain critical events in history, or pioneering new advances 'of the times'. I didnt know there was a 'History' section on the site...will look into it!

    July 4, 2021 10:51 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Excellent article on a little known hero from the time when men were men. Shows some of the sacrifices made to make America free.

    July 4, 2021 5:58 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I really enjoyed reading this article, I want more like it!

    July 3, 2021 11:22 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Aden Tate

    Just to cut off any of the naysayers before they even start, yes, I totally understand that Mel Gibson's character (Benjamin Martin) was very much so loosely based off of Francis Marion. That being said, there are a number of obvious parallels between the two characters, such as:

    Francis Marion's house being burned to the ground
    Marion's marrying a cousin
    Marion's earning of a nickname by the tyrants
    Marion's fighting in the French and Indian War
    Marion's learning how to fight guerilla style in the French and Indian War
    Marion's fighting in South Carolina and around Charles Town
    Marion's rounding up like-minded patriots for his style of warfare
    Marion's fleeing from a Brit specifically enrolled in hunting him down

    There's undoubtedly other examples, but these will at least help to prove my point.

    July 2, 2021 11:03 am