Deputy Dave’s Drink of the Day – Fox and Hounds
On this day in 1780, Patriot Francis Marion’s Carolina militia routed Loyalist’s forces at Blue Savannah, South Carolina, and in the process Marion won new recruits to the Patriot cause.
Marion, a mere five feet tall, won fame and the “Swamp Fox” moniker for his ability to strike and then quickly retreat into the South Carolina swamps without a trace. He also earned fame as the only senior Continental officer in the area to escape the British following the fall of Charleston on May 12, 1780. His military strategy is considered an 18th-century example of guerilla warfare and served as partial inspiration for Mel Gibson’s character, Benjamin Martin, in the film The Patriot (2000).
South Carolina militia forces were first assembled by Thomas Sumter in 1780. Sumter used his militia to return Carolina Loyalists’ terror tactics in kind after Loyalists burned his plantation. Sumter turned over his command to Marion after becoming wounded. Marion showed himself to be a singularly able leader of irregular militiamen and ruthless in his terrorizing of Loyalists. Unlike the Continental troops, Marion’s Men, as they were known, served without pay, supplied their own horses, arms and often their food
Marion rarely committed his men to frontal warfare, but repeatedly surprised larger bodies of Loyalists or British regulars with quick surprise attacks and equally quick withdrawal from the field. After the surrender of Charleston, the British garrisoned South Carolina with help from local Tories, except for Williamsburg (the present Pee Dee), which they were never able to hold. The British made one attempt to garrison Williamsburg at Willtown, but were driven out by Marion at the Battle of Black Mingo.
The British especially hated Marion and made repeated efforts to neutralize his force, but Marion’s intelligence gathering was excellent and that of the British was poor, due to the overwhelming Patriot loyalty of the populace in the Williamsburg area.
Colonel Banastre Tarleton was sent to capture or kill Marion in November 1780; he despaired of finding the “old swamp fox”, who eluded him by traveling along swamp paths. It was Tarleton who gave Marion his nom de guerre when, after unsuccessfully pursuing Marion’s troops for over 26 miles through a swamp, he gave up and swore “[a]s for this damned old fox, the Devil himself could not catch him.” Cornwallis observed “Colonel Marion had so wrought the minds of the people, partly by the terror of his threats and cruelty of his punishments, and partly by the promise of plunder, that there was scarcely an inhabitant between the Santee and the Peedee that was not in arms against us”
Marion then teamed up with Major General Nathaniel Greene, who arrived in the Carolinas to lead the Continental forces in October 1780. Together, they are credited with grasping a Patriot victory from the jaws of defeat in the southern states.
Following their surprising success at Nelson’s Ferry on the Santee River in South Carolina on August 20, 1780, The Swamp Fox and 52 members of his militia rode east in order to evade pursuing British Loyalists. They were successful in evading but on the 4th of September they were attacked by a much larger force of Loyalists led by Major Micajah Ganey. Marion’s advance guard, led by Major John James, decimated the Loyalists’ advance guard and Marion ambushed and routed Ganey’s main force of 200 Loyalists. The success of Marion’s militia broke the Loyalist stronghold on South Carolina east of the PeeDee River and attracted another 60 volunteers to the Patriot cause.
Growing up, My father used to regale me with tales of history. One of his favorite things to do was pour a small shot of apple cider vinegar for all of us kids and explain to us how the Swamp Fox used apple cider vinegar to help keep his troops from catching dysentery while they lived and fought in the Swamps of South Carolina. While today’s drink of the day is not Apple Cider Vinegar it is a little more potent! Deputy Dave’s Drink of the Day: Fox and Hounds
1 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1/2 oz Pernod® licorice liqueur
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 tsp superfine sugar
1 egg white
In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine all of the ingredients. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass.
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