Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 20, 1976 · Page 68
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 68

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 20, 1976
Page 68
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Page 68 article text (OCR)

7F Sundav (l -June 20,1976 Charleston. Wesl Virginia---'Swamp Fox' Kept Spirit Of Fight Alive By John Schoolfield Francis Marion, the gentle little man with a swarthy skin and dark eyes, who became the legendary "Swamp Fox" of the American Revolution, would probably have been only a footnote in history except for a rebuff at the hands of a general. At the outbreak of the Revolution in 1775, Marion, 43 years old and a veteran of the French and Indian War, left his farm and accepted a commission as captain in the South Carolina militia. His company was part of the gallant garrison that defended Fort Sullivan against the British fleet off Charleston, S.C., in 1776. By 1778, he was a lieutenant colonel and commanded the Second South Carolina Regiment, which he led in the unsuccessful attack on British-held Savannah, Ga., the following year. MARION, recuperating from a broken ankle, escaped falling into enemy hands Tales of Revolution when Charleston finally fell to the British on May 12, 1780. With both Savannah and Charleston under British control, despair spread through the South and organized patriot resistance came to an end. British and Tory raiders roamed the countryside and Marion hid in the swamps and forests until his ankle mended. Then he gathered a few friends and rode toward North Carolina to meet the American Army marching south from Virginia. On the morning of August 3, Marion, in a tight-fitting crimsom jacket, rode at the head of his ragged band of 20 men anc boys, some white, some black, into the camp of the Continental Army, Southern Department, and gravely offered his services to the commanding general. Ridiculed by the soldiers and rejected by Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates, Marion didn' tarry long in camp. He readjusted his bat tered leather cap, on which was a silver crescent bearing the words "Liberty or Death." and led his men away along the dusty roads of the Carolinas. They joined a group of ardent patriots around Williams burg, S.C., and with this "brigade" of par tisans, Marion scored his first major vie tory as a guerrilla fighter on Aug. 20,1780 three days after the crushing defeat o Gages' army at Camden, S.C. With 52 mounted men he attacked a strong British force guarding a party of American pris oners near Nelson's Ferry, S.C. He krllee and captured 22 Britsh regulars and two Tories and released 150 captured Conti nental soldiers. Two of Marion's men were wounded. A few days later, with 50 men he routed a force of 200 Tories at Blue Sa vannah. S.C. THE PATTERN was now set and as the months went by Marion and his bold an desperate fighters became the scourge o the British and Tories in South Carolin and, at times virtually alone, kept aliv the flames of revolution in a large secto of the South. They supplied themselve with swords hammered from saw blades rode fast horses, and traveled light; a sin gle blanket serving for bed and coverinj Marion rode a horse named "Ball,' which, it is said, "would outstrip the win in speed, and could swim like a dog." He and his men, c a m p i n g in th swamps, would emerge after sundown an ride all night. They would suddenly appea on the enemy's flank or rear and strike murderous blow and vanish again into th swamps and forests of the low country o the Pedee and Black rivers, living for day on potatoes roasted over camp fires an served on pieces of bark. Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton, the fearec leader of the British Legion which ravage the South, once chased Marion throug swamps and forests for 25 miles and the reined in his horse in frustration. "Thi damn swamp fox," he said, "the dev himself could not catch him." Anothe British officer, enraged by Marion's tac tics, said in disgust: "He won't fight like gentleman or a Christian." THUS MARION and his band lived am fought. In August of 1781, in a battle a Parker's Ferry, S.C., he and his me killed and wounded 100 British dragoon without the loss of a man. Then they rod 250 miles to join Gen. Nathaneal Greene' army in time for the bloody battle at Eu taw Springs, S.C., the final major actio of the war in the South until the surrende of the British at Yorktown, Va., in Octo her. After the war Marion returned to hi farm, served in the Senate of South Carol na, and at the age of 54 married his spins ter cousin, Mary Esther Videau. Mario never lost his love of life in the wilds. I the hot summer months, it is said, the ol Swamp Fox would "take his worn cam bed and cooking utensils and repair wit Mary to the mountains." There hewoul roast potatoes over an open fire and recal his adventures »s the greatest partisa ' leader in American history. The Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, the _... of Rights, our American Flag .. . and everything they stand for are still held sacred. With pride and \oy we celebrate the 200th Anniversary of this great land whose liberty has been bought and paid for by the blood of her fighting men. A land of mixed nationalities, united for the purpose of freedom of speech, worship, and pursuit of happiness. Our five companies consider it a glorious honor and privilege to enjoy the fruits of this magnificent country. God Bless America 200 YEARS 113 YEARS \. Our five companies FILBETH ENTERPRISES, INC. HOBET MINING CONSTRUCTION CO. MYNU COALS, INC. PRINCESS BETH, INC. PINE ROCK COALS, INC. OUR WORK IS HELPING AMERICA TO BECOME INDEPENDENT IN ITS EMMY NEEDS! 9M

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