University honors namesake: Gen. Francis Marion

Professors from the history department gave a presentation about FMU’s namesake, Gen. Francis Marion, who was a military officer who served in the American Revolutionary War.

Assistant history professor, Dr. William K. Bolt, gave a brief summary on the American Revolution and the events that led up to Marion’s part in it. Chair of the history department Dr. Scott Kaufman gave the presentation on Marion and his involvement in the war.

Marion was known as the “Swampfox,” for his stealth. This name came from officers in the British military who tried to capture Marion. All of the attempts were unsuccessful. One man, Colonial Banastre Tarleston said, “As to this damned old fox, the devil himself could not catch him.” The name “Swampfox” stuck.

Marion led fighters in the back and low-country parts of South Carolina in swamps, fighting the British troops. He is credited as being the father of guerilla warfare.

Marion fought in the French and Indian War in the 1750s, the Cherokee Campaign of 1760, the Battle of Sullivan’s Island in 1776 and the Battle of Savannah in 1779. Marion’s band of soldiers included whites, blacks and Native Americans.

There was a lot of division in the U.S. during the American Revolution. Maurice Murphy and Thomas Sumter lead their troops to burn homes, steal horses and hang men. According to the presentation, Marion refused to follow the examples of these men. He thought it would only make it harder to heal the wounds of the war. Instead, Marion wanted to show acts of kindness to everyone, whether they were prisoners by slavery or captured prisoners during the war.

Marion was also elected to state legislature as a senator in 1781. His motive was to make sure that the southern colonies could be put back together.

Marion’s leadership plays an important role in today’s independence of the southern colonies. Marion lent his name to 29 cities and 17 counties across the U.S. FMU is named after him, as well as a national forest, a biography from Parson M. L. Weems, the poem, “Song of Marion’s Men,” the movie “The Patriot,” a Disney series called “The Swamp Fox” and a small park on Capitol Hill. In memory of Marion’s passing, FMU and the Morning News give Marion Medallions to leaders in the Pee Dee.

The event was in honor of the death of Marion, which was Feb. 27, 1795.