Front Matter Our Country Long Ago The Barbarous Indians The Mounds Where the Northmen Went The Northmen in America Queer Ideas Prince Henry the Navigator Youth of Columbus Columbus and the Queen "Land! Land!" Columbus and the Savages Home Again Columbus Ill-treated Death of Columbus How America Got its Name The Fountain of Youth "The Father of Waters" The French in Canada French and Spanish Quarrels The Sky City Around the World Nothing but Smoke Smith's Adventures The Jamestown Men Smith Wounded Pocahontas Visits England Hudson and the Indians The Mayflower Plymouth Rock The First Thanksgiving Snake Skin and Bullets The Beginning of Boston Stories of Two Ministers Williams and the Indians The Quakers The King-Killers King Phillip's War The Beginning of New York Penn and the Indians The Catholics in Maryland The Old Dominion Bacon's Rebellion A Journey Inland The Carolina Pirates Charter Oak Salem Witches Down the Mississippi La Salle's Adventures Indians on the Warpath Two Wars with the French Washington's Boyhood Washington's Journey Washington's First Battle Stories of Franklin Braddock's Defeat Wolfe at Quebec England and her Colonies The Stamp Tax The Anger of the Colonies The Boston Tea Party The Minutemen The Battle of Lexington Bunker Hill The Boston Boys The British leave Boston Declaration of Independence A Lady's Way of Helping Christmas Eve The Fight at Bennington Burgoyne's Surrender Winter at Valley Forge The Quaker Woman Putnam's Adventures Indian Cruelty Boone in Kentucky Famous Sea Fights The "Swamp Fox" The Poor Soldiers The Spy A Traitor's Death Two Unselfish Women Surrender of Cornwallis British Flag hauled down Washington's Farewell

Story of the Thirteen Colonies - Helene Guerber

The "Swamp Fox"

The British had failed not only in their first attempt, against Boston, but also in their second,—to seize the Hudson valley and thus separate the southern colonies from New England. But as they were not yet ready to give up the struggle, they decided to try a third plan. That was to begin a new campaign in the far south, and march up the Atlantic coast, leaving nothing but conquered people behind them.

In 1778, therefore, they began their operations by besieging and taking Savannah. Soon after, they became masters of Augusta and of nearly all Georgia. These successes delighted them, for, with one province won, they fancied they would soon be masters of all the rest. Still, before they could do much more, the French fleet under D'Estaing, and an American army under Lincoln, came to recover Savannah. While the French were bombarding that city from their ships, the Americans, led by Pulaski, tried to storm it (1777).

Pulaski's Monument in Savannah


But in spite of a most gallant charge, the patriots were driven back with great loss. Among the dead was Sergeant Jasper, still holding the flag given him at Fort Moultrie, and Count Pulaski, the generous Pole who had joined the army and served under Washington in the battle of the Brandywine. Both of these men were so brave that their names will never be forgotten, and in Savannah fine monuments have been erected in their honor.

The first attempt to take Savannah having failed, the French admiral refused to lend any more aid to the Americans in the South. So Lincoln, after defending Charleston alone for forty days, was forced to surrender. The British, coming to the city, exacted such hard conditions from him that they roused the indignation of all true Americans. But when the British minister heard that the city was taken, he proudly cried: "We look on America as at our feet!"

The British now overran the state, behaving most cruelly everywhere. An officer named Tarleton not only burned houses, and beat women and children, but when some Americans asked for quarter, that is, vowed not to fight any more if he would spare their lives, he broke his promise and had them all killed. Because he did not keep his word, the expression "Tarleton's quarter" was used in the South as a term for immediate death.

Although by Lincoln's surrender one American army was lost, the patriots were not ready to give up yet, and as soon as another force was raised, Gates was sent southward to command it. He was so proud of his victory at Saratoga that he started out full of confidence. When he stopped, on his way, to visit Lee, the latter, hearing him boast, quietly remarked: "Take care your northern laurels do not turn to southern willows."

Unfortunately, however, Gates paid no heed to this warning. Thinking he would soon force Cornwallis to surrender, he was very imprudent, and when he met the British at Camden, a few months later (1780), he suffered a defeat instead of winning a victory. We are told that when he saw the day was lost, Gates turned and fled, never daring to stop until he had put about eighty miles between himself and his foes. The German officer De Kalb, who had so generously come to help the Americans, fought in this battle with great courage, and died from the eleven wounds he received there. He is buried at Camden, where a monument marks his resting place. This was the worst battle for the Americans during the whole war, and it was speedily followed by the loss of nearly all South Carolina. The only people who still had courage to fight were a few patriots led by such heroes as Marion, Sumter, and Pickens.

The first of these three men was so upright, brave, and gentlemanly that he has often been compared to a brave French knight, and is therefore known as the "Bayard of the South." Marion and his men had retreats in the woods and swamps, whence they made sudden raids upon the British. It seems that the latter, wishing to exchange prisoners, once sent an officer into one of these hiding places under a flag of truce. As Marion did not wish the British to learn the way to his retreat, this officer was blindfolded and led a long distance. When his bandage was removed, he was surprised to find himself, not in a fort or house, as he had expected, but in a lonely spot in the woods. Marion stepped forward, politely offered him a seat on a log, and, when business was over, cordially invited him to share his dinner.

The officer was just wondering where his dining room could be, when one of the ragged soldiers appeared, carrying a piece of bark on which smoked some sweet potatoes, roasted in the camp fire. Marion helped his guest to a potato on a chip, and began to eat one himself with a relish. Of course the British officer immediately followed his example; but he soon asked whether the American officers often dined so simply. Marion, the "Swamp Fox," answered, "Yes; "and then gayly added, "but we are fortunate on this occasion, having company to entertain, to have more than our usual allowance."

Marion's Dinner


The officer, hearing this, suggested that the Americans probably gave their soldiers big pay to make up for such poor fare and uncomfortable quarters. But Marion truthfully answered that he received no salary at all. The astonished officer then asked why he served such a mean country at all; and the brave young Southerner, looking him full in the face, proudly remarked that a man was always ready to do anything for the lady he loved, and that the name of his sweetheart was Liberty.

The British officer could not but admire such a man and such an answer. On returning to camp, we are told, he left the service, saying he would have no share in depriving such brave men as Marion of the rights due them.