Tuesday, August 23, 2005

BACK TO THE SWAMP

Francis Marion and his ragged men emerge from the South Carolina swamps with their flintlocks poised and ready for battle. This is a recently finished image from a forthcoming book about Francis Marion entitled "Francis Marion and the Legend of the Swamp Fox." This book is another in a series of projects about Francis Marion. In this image I wanted to give the impression that Marion and his men are setting up an ambush or perhaps they are moving to the aid of another group of partisans.
Francis Marion and his men spent a lot of time fighting loyalist militia in skirmishes and ambushes along the Pee Dee river region of South Carolina. They did however face the redcoats in a pitched battle at Eutaw Springs. Redcoats, or regular British army soldiers, were well equipped, trained and pretty accustomed to the grueling and brutal life of an eighteenth century infantryman in a foreign land. The unconventional war waged by partisan fighters like Marion and his men, however, made it very difficult for them to maintain their hold on British North America. An occupying army as large and as spread out as the British were at the time would have been very vulnerable to attack on their supply and communication lines. An army that can't re-equip or that is cut off from the chain of command and intelligence is almost crippled.

The British did have a few ways to cope with this problem. Their chief "counter insurgencey" expert was Banastre Tarleton.
Cornwallis figured out that the best way to combat a small, mobile force was to come after them with a small, mobile force. Tarleton chased Marion all over the Carolina lowcountry finally giving up. He even gave Marion his famous nickname when, at the end of his chase he wheeled his horse around and stated, "...let us go and chase the Gamecock (Thomas Sumter). As for this damned old fox, the Devil himself couln't catch him!" Tarleton was a brutal foil for Marion. Check out this
wonderful website devoted totally to him.

1 comment:

Aunt Marg said...

James--I have to say your artwork is getting better and better with each passing day. I couldn't believe the redcoats uniforms. Great Job!!!Very professional and polished looking. I am very impressed.