The Swamp Fox: How Francis Marion Saved the American Revolution

The Swamp Fox: How Francis Marion Saved the American Revolution

by John Oller
The Swamp Fox: How Francis Marion Saved the American Revolution

The Swamp Fox: How Francis Marion Saved the American Revolution

by John Oller


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This comprehensive biography of Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox, covers his famous wartime stories as well as a private side of him that has rarely been explored

In the darkest days of the American Revolution, Francis Marion and his band of militia freedom fighters kept hope alive for the patriot cause during the critical British "southern campaign." Employing insurgent guerrilla tactics that became commonplace in later centuries, Marion and his brigade inflicted enemy losses that were individually small but cumulatively a large drain on British resources and morale.

Although many will remember the stirring adventures of the "Swamp Fox" from the Walt Disney television series of the late 1950s and the fictionalized Marion character played by Mel Gibson in the 2000 film The Patriot, the real Francis Marion bore little resemblance to either of those caricatures. But his exploits were no less heroic as he succeeded, against all odds, in repeatedly foiling the highly trained, better-equipped forces arrayed against him.

In this action-packed biography we meet many colorful characters from the Revolution: Banastre Tarleton, the British cavalry officer who relentlessly pursued Marion over twenty-six miles of swamp, only to call off the chase and declare (per legend) that "the Devil himself could not catch this damned old fox," giving Marion his famous nickname; Thomas Sumter, the bold but rash patriot militia leader whom Marion detested; Lord Cornwallis, the imperious British commander who ordered the hanging of rebels and the destruction of their plantations; "Light-Horse Harry" Lee, the urbane young Continental cavalryman who helped Marion topple critical British outposts in South Carolina; but most of all Francis Marion himself, "the Washington of the South," a man of ruthless determination yet humane character, motivated by what his peers called "the purest patriotism."

In The Swamp Fox, the first major biography of Marion in more than forty years, John Oller compiles striking evidence and brings together much recent learning to provide a fresh look both at Marion, the man, and how he helped save the American Revolution.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306903199
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 03/20/2018
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 50,684
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

John Oller, a lawyer and journalist, is the author of the critically acclaimed biographies of actress Jean Arthur and Kate Chase Sprague, Mary Todd Lincoln's great rival. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

List of Maps ix

Author's Note x

Prologue: The Darkest Hour 3

1 A Most Uncivil War 11

2 "A Spirit of Toleration" 18

3 Frontier Lessons 24

4 Manning the Ramparts 33

5 Commander of the 2nd Regiment 43

6 Birth of a Partisan 54

7 Hitting and Running 58

8 "My Little Excursions" 67

9 Dead Man's Hand 77

10 The Swamp Fox 82

11 "I Must Drive Marion Out of That Country" 90

12 "I Have Not the Honor of Your Acquaintance" 100

13 "Two Very Enterprising Officers" 109

14 Hound and Fox 122

15 Fox and Hound 135

16 "A War of Posts" 144

17 Ball of Fire 153

18 Winning by Losing 161

19 Dog Days 168

20 "The Most Galling Fire" 178

21 "At Eutaw Springs the Valiant Died" 186

22 "Watchful Anxiety" 200

23 "As Soon as They Can Spare Me" 212

24 "To Prevent the Effusion of Blood" 220

25 "An Affectionate Farewell" 230

26 "The Purest Patriotism" 237

Acknowledgments 249

Abbreviations 253

Notes 257

Selected Bibliography 339

Index 353

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