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Karen Palumbo

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Blogs by Karen Palumbo

On This Day 1/24/1781
1/20/2011 7:13:45 PM

"Light Horse" and "Swamp Fox" raid Georgetown, South Carolina


Patriot commanders Lieutenant Colonel "Light Horse" Henry Lee and Brigadier General Francis "Swamp Fox" Marion of the South Carolina militia combine forces and conduct a raid on Georgetown, South Carolina, which is defended by two hundred British troops.

Brigadier General Marion won fame and the moniker "Swamp Fox" for his ability to strike and then quickly retreat into the South Carolina swamps without a trace. Brigadier General Marion's military strategy is considered an Eighteenth Century example of guerilla warfare and served as partialinspiration for the film, "The Patriot", starring Mel Gibson.

Brigadier General Marion took over the South Carolina militia troops first assembled by Thomas Sumter in 1780. Thomas Sumter, the other inspiration for Mel Gibson's character in the film, returned Carolina Loyalists terror tactics in kind after Loyalists burned his plantation.

When Thomas Sumter withdrew from active fighting to care for a wound, Brigadier General Marion replaced him and strategized with Major General Nathaniel Greene, who had recently arrived in the Carolinas to lead the Continental troops.

On January 24, 1781 the Patriots under the leadership of Brigadier General Marion and Lieutenant Colonel Lee managed to arrive at Georgetown undetected and captured at least three Officers, including the British Commander.

The following month, Lieutenant Colonel Lee's cavalry was able to defeat a band of Loyalist cavalry at Haw River, North Carolina, by taking advantage of the extreme similarity of Patriot uniforms to those of British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton's troops.

British Colonel John Pyle's troops atHaw River were surprised to discover that the horsemen approaching them wee not friends, as they appeared from a distance,but foes. Losing three fingers and blinding one eye in the course of combat, ColonelPyle, a doctor by profession, survived by hiding in what is now known as "Pyle's Pond".



(K) (HST)


"Light Horse" Henry Lee American Lieutenant Colonel
Francis "Swamp Fox" Marion American Brigadier General
Thomas Sumter American Patriot
Nathaniel Green American Major General
Banastre Tarleton British Lieutenant Colonel
John Pyle British Colonel


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