Experience the American dream with today’s Patriots of the Past interview. I’m your host, John Gillespie.
It’s March 15, 1780. I’m in South Carolina with Brigadier General Francis Marion as he trains his troops.
JG: “General Marion, why have your raiders been so successful against the British?”
FM: “John, my brigade boys may be rough and unorthodox, but they love freedom. While we may have little food and sleep, we are hungry for liberty and we won’t rest until we drive every last one of these British bums out of South Carolina and America.”
Drive them out he did as General Marion, nicknamed “The Old Swamp Fox,” harassed, destroyed, and outmaneuver the notorious British General Tarleton, opening up the door for Washington’s victory at Yorktown.
In Greenville, South Carolina, the Francis Marion historical marker reads, “Francis Marion, ‘The Swampfox,’ 1732-1795.
“Battle hardened in the Cherokee War of 1760-61 and the battle of Sullivan’s Island in 1776, Marion was 48 years old when the British invaded & conquered SC in 1780.
“His volunteer militia detachment operated primarily in the lowcountry, attacking Tory units, disrupting British supply lines, and providing intelligence reports to his commanding officer – General Greene. Marion & his men, which included African Americans, would often escape pursuing British forces by retreating into the swamps, thus earning him the nickname ‘swamp fox.’
“Regarded as the father of US Special Forces, he would join Greene’s Continental forces before a major battle. Marion County, Lake Marion, and Marion National Forest are named in his honor.”
John and Jan Gillespie are the founders of the Rawhide Boys’ Ranch; they have fostered 351 teenagers and wrote the book Our 351 Sons; they have also assisted numerous churches in developing youth programs and expanding their total church ministries. After running for U.S. Senate, John founded 1776 American Dream, which exists to demonstrate the vision of our founding fathers and help our generation of youth passionately embrace those values.