Sunday, October 3, 2010

Who is Francis Marion?

A painting of Francis Marion by Werner Willis.
To understand why someone admires another, it is important to know more about the subject. It is very hard to understand any piece of writing about a person, if you don't know anything about the person themselves. This post will explain who Francis Marion is by giving a short biography about his life. Though it may not seem the most interesting, as many fundamentals may be, it is important to learn this so that any further references may not be confusing.
Francis Marion was born in 1732 in Berkeley, South Carolina. He gained his first military experienced in the Seven Years War (French and Indian War). During the war, Marion served under a man named William Moultrie, fighting against the Cherokee. After the war, Marion began a successful career as a planter. It was during this time that he came into an inheritance, which attributed to him becoming more politically active. He continued this until 1775, when the Revolutionary War began.
Marion was a member of the South Carolina Provincial Congress, and was appointed by the congress to serve as Captain of the 2nd South Carolina Regiment under his old friend, William Moultrie. After fighting in skirmishes fir two years, Marion was appointed Commander of the South Carolina 2nd regiment.  In 1780, British reclaimed Charleston, which since 1775 had been claimed by the colonial army under Marion's command. Marion, luckily, had hurt his ankle during this time and was able to escape capture by British soldiers.
The colonial army was ordered to retreat after the recapture of Charleston. Marion, along with a few other soldiers decided to stay. He then organized a small force of men to train in guerilla warfare. (Guerilla Warfare is unexpected attacks by a military group that is trying to change the government.) Living off the men, with few supplies, Marion led his men in many attacks against the British. These attacks would be quick and hard with Marion's men swiftly retreating into the swamps afterwards. It was these tactics that gained him the nickname, The Swamp Fox.
As the war came to an end, Marion joined forces with General Nathanael Greene and together they forced General Cornwallis's retreat from South Carolina. (General Cornwallis was one of the main British General's in the Revolutionary War) By the end of the war, Marion, who had started out as a lieutenant Colonel, had achieved the rank of General.
In the Present there have been many arguments of whether or not Marion was a "hero". In the movie The Patriot, Mel Gibson plays a character that was modeled after Marion (As well as Daniel Morgan: another soldier who stayed in South Carolina).  This movie successfully portrays the American ideology of our Revolutionary Heroes. Because of the lack of documentation, little is known about what kind of man Marion really was. Even so, I still can't help but admire him.

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