A small man in physical stature, Francis Marion stood tall in the eyes of the age in which he lived. His primary thrust into history lasted no longer than three years, yet his name was, and still is, bestowed on countless babies, while some twenty-nine towns and seventeen counties throughout the land have been named for him. In one sense this is an extraordinary recognition when it is remembered that he fought in only three major military operations in the American Revolution: the 1776 siege of Charleston, the assault against Savannah, and the battle of Eutaw Springs. Although he performed well in each, his activities were not such as would have earned his niche in history. In general, these skirmishes that he fought might be termed the froth of battle. But as early as 1775, on British general had seen in such engagements the seeds of defeat when he wrote, "Our army will be destroyed by damned driblets...America is an ugly mob...a damned affair indeed." And six years later the staid Annual Register was to voice its opinion from London:
Most of these actions would in other wars be considered
as skirmishes of little account, and scarcely worthy of a
detailed narrative. But these small actions are as
capable as any of displaying military conduct. The
operation of war being spread over that vast continent,
by the new plan that was adopted, it is by such skirmishes
that the fate of America must be necessarily decided.
They are therefore as important as battles in which a
hundred thousand are drawn up on each side.
-Hugh F.Rankin, Francis Marion: The Swamp Fox