Unlikely Heroes: Still Chapter 26 of Washington’s Immortals

Francis Marion, aka Swamp Fox, “was an early pioneer of guerrilla warfare, leading the local militia in numerous quick, violent attacks on Loyalists and Redcoats. He was (unlike the character portrayed by Mel Gibson in The Patriot) “physically underwhelming: a frail, stubby fifty-year-old, hobbled by deformed knees and ankles.”

The British sent one of their most ruthless fighters after him, Banastre Tarleton, famous for what was known as “Tarleton’s quarter” — after a small force in South Carolina surrendered, Tarleton failed to honor the white flag (he claimed he didn’t see it because he was thrown from his horse) and slaughtered the surrendering men. “It was Tarleton who gave Marion his nickname: after pursuing the Patriot through twenty-six miles of Carolina swampland,” Tarleton was forced to give up the chase.

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