Francis Marion (mâr´ēən), c.1732–1795, American Revolutionary soldier, known as the Swamp Fox, b. near Georgetown, S.C. He was a planter and Indian fighter before joining (1775) William Moultrie's regiment at the start of the American Revolution. In 1779 he fought under Benjamin Lincoln at Savannah and escaped (1780) capture at Charleston by being on sick leave. Marion organized a troop (1780), which, after the American defeat at Camden in the Carolina campaign, constituted the chief colonial force in South Carolina. Engaging in guerrilla warfare, he disrupted the British lines of communication, captured scouting and foraging parties, and intimidated Loyalists. His habit of disappearing into the swamps to elude the British earned him his nickname. When Nathanael Greene had succeeded in ousting the British from North Carolina (see Carolina campaign), his lieutenant, Light-Horse Harry Lee, brought reinforcements to Marion, and they took part together in several battles, notably that at Eutaw Springs (Sept. 8, 1781). After the war, Marion served in the South Carolina senate, where he advocated a lenient policy toward the Loyalists.
See biographies by W. G. Simms (1844, repr. 1971) and H. F. Rankin (1973).