Marion, Francis (1732?–1795), an American Revolutionary War army officer. Marion was called “the Swamp Fox” because of his skillful hit-and-run raids as a partisan (guerrilla) leader in the swamps of South Carolina during 1780–82. By capturing several British army posts and harassing the enemy's lines of communication, he did much to drive the British from the state. His exploits were romanticized by Parson Weems, the biographer of George Washington who invented the cherry-tree tale. Towns and counties throughout the United States are named for Marion.
Marion's birthplace was probably in Berkeley County, South Carolina. He inherited a small plantation and served in campaigns against the Cherokees in 1759 and 1761. In 1775, at the opening of the Revolution, he was elected to the South Carolina legislature and was made a captain of state troops. In 1779 he commanded a regiment during an unsuccessful attack on Savannah.
In August, 1780, Marion became a brigadier general of state militia. The invasion of the state by British troops drove him into the lowland swamps and forests. At times Marion had as few as 20 men. The Battle of Eutaw Springs (1781), in which he took part, ended formal warfare in South Carolina, but Marion disarmed at least 500 remaining Loyalists. He disbanded his men in December, 1782.