Chasing the Swamp Fox | Carolina Stories - Episode 3


Warfare Strategy

This segment provides a detailed description of battle and Marion's strategies. Marion always attacked on three sides, never four. He said that if men are surrounded, they will sell their life dearly, which meant that would increase the danger to his men. So he would allow them to escape. Of course, he killed quite a few before most of them took him up on it. This was a great embarrassment to the British, for the ragtag bunch from the swamp to overrun them. 

Marion's other strategy was to use mobility, provided by his horses. He would move at night and attack, and then run like crazy. 

While Marion's brigade was on the run, they were living in base camps in the Great Pee Dee Swamps, with only a small cadre of people, and they had nothing but the horses they stole, and what weapons they could find, and virtually no food but the cattle or deer they were able to kill.

Marion never stayed in any place long enough to be found. His headquarters were at Snow's Island, but he wasn't hunkered down there. Although his letters reference Snow's Island, there isn't archaeological evidence that Marion was there. Evidence that it was burned by the British has been found, and it is known that William Goddard's plantation was there. So far, artifacts of Marion have not been found. These troops traveled very fast, and moved quickly after a battle ended. They were constantly on the move, fighting battles, retreating, hiding, reorganizing, and fighting again. 

Nathanael Greene used the partisans as his mobile elements. Marion understood his strategy and cooperated fully. When Greene took over command of the army in the South, he sent Lighthorse Harry Lee to find Marion, which was not easy. Together, they took Fort Watson within a week of Greene's decision and sent prisoners up to Greene. John Watson had built the fort on Nelson's Ferry and named it for himself. This segment provides details about Watson's and Marion's circumstances and history. 

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Carolina Stories / Chasing the Swamp Fox