Marion gained his first military experience fighting against the Cherokee Indians in 1759. Then, serving as a member of the South Carolina Provincial Congress (1775), he was commissioned a captain. It was after the surrender of General Benjamin Lincoln to the British at Charleston, South Carolina (1780), that he slipped away to the swamps, gathered together his band of guerrillas, and began leading his bold raids. Marion and his irregulars often defeated larger bodies of British troops by the surprise and rapidity of their movement over swampy terrain, earning him the moniker “Swamp Fox” for his elusive tactics. For a daring rescue of Americans surrounded by the British at Parkers Ferry, South Carolina (August 1781), Marion received the thanks of Congress. He was then appointed a brigadier general, and after the war he served in the senate of South Carolina (1782–90).