Manning, SC | Mar 6, 1781
Lord Francis Rawdon, Field Commander of the King’s forces in South Carolina, was intent on catching and stopping Marion. He ordered Colonel Watson into the backwater bogs to chase down Marion’s militia. However, Marion’s scouts learned of Watson’s movements, and the Swamp Fox placed his men in an ambush position on the Santee River Road at Wyboo Swamp. Watson’s Loyalist cavalry rode right into Patriot horsemen, and the two armies faced off on the causeway in a series of effective charges and countercharges. After a thunderous salvo by two British cannons, Marion felt his force was too small to sustain an open fight and ordered a retreat down the river road. Gavin James was the last Patriot to pull out and momentarily held the causeway alone. While avoiding a barrage of enemy fire, the undaunted private used his musket as a lance and killed three of Watson’s men.
Small but relentless attacks by Marion, like this encounter at Wyboo Swamp, served to keep the British on edge as they struggled to keep their hold on rural South Carolina.