The Swamp Fox

I remember being fascinated by the story of “The Swamp Fox” after watching a Disney mini-series based upon his life. I even did a report on him for a grade school history project. Little did I know back then that I had a relative that served under him during the Revolutionary War.

Francis Marion (aka the Swamp Fox) was a military officer who was perhaps best known for his ability to marshal volunteer militia men into fighting units. Unlike the regular Continental Army, Marion’s Men (as his “troops” were known) were not paid, provided their own horses, arms, and often food.

Marion rarely engaged his men in prolonged battles, preferring instead to launch surprise attacks followed by sudden withdrawals, escaping into the swamp paths of which he was so well familiar.

He is considered one of the fathers of modern guerrilla warfare and maneuver warfare. He is credited in the lineage of U.S. Army Rangers and the 75th Ranger Regiment. It is said that Mel Gibson’s film “The Patriot” was inspired by Marion’s life.

James Trousdale, the grandfather of my 3rd great grand-aunt, served as a Captain under Marion’s command. He was wounded at the siege of Charleston and again at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. He and his men were also with George Washington at the Siege of Yorktown for the surrender of Cornwallis.

For his service, Trousdale was granted 640 acres of land in Sumner County Tennessee which later became the site for the town of Gallatin. His son, William, became governor of Tennessee.

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