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Johnsonville in Florence County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Witherspoon’s Ferry: Francis Marion Takes Command

 
 
Witherspoon’s Ferry: Francis Marion Takes Command Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anna Inbody, March 18, 2012
1. Witherspoon’s Ferry: Francis Marion Takes Command Marker
Inscription. Late in the summer of 1780, Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates led a Continental army toward South Carolina to attempt to roll back the British conquest of the province. As Gates prepared to meet the British at Camden, he sent Col. Francis Marion ~ a Continental officer who had only escaped the fall of Charleston because of a broken ankle ~ south towards the Santee River to gather the local militia forces and prevent a British retreat.

On August 17, 1780, leading a ragtag band of fewer than twenty men, “some white, some black, and all mounted, but most of them miserably equipped,” Col. Marion entered the camp of the Williamsburg Militia here at Witherspoon’s Ferry (probably at a site a few yards downstream, just ahead of you) and took command. William Dobein James, then a fifteen-year-old militiaman, recalled his first sight of Marion:

He was below the middle stature of men. His body was well set, but his knees and ankles were badly formed; and he still limped upon one leg. He had a countenance remarkably steady; his nose was aquiline, his chin projecting; his forehead was large and high. And his eyes black and piercing…. He was dressed in a close round-bodied crimson jacket, of a coarse texture, and wore a leather cap, part of the uniform of the second regiment, with a silver crescent in front, inscribed with the words,
Overview image. Click for full size.
By Anna Inbody, March 18, 2012
2. Overview
“Liberty or Death.”

 
Erected 2012 by Francis Marion Trail Commission of Francis Marion University.
 
Location. 33° 50.32′ N, 79° 26.897′ W. Marker is in Johnsonville, South Carolina, in Florence County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 41/51, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is at a boat landing. Marker is in this post office area: Johnsonville SC 29555, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Witherspoon’s Ferry / Johnsonville (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Marion at Port’s Ferry / Asbury at Port’s Ferry (approx. 1.5 miles away); Ebenezer United Methodist Church (approx. 4.8 miles away); Dunham’s Bluff: Control of the Rivers (approx. 6.2 miles away but has been reported missing); Snow’s Island: Den of the Swamp Fox (approx. 6.2 miles away); Britton's Neck/Britton's Ferry (approx. 6.8 miles away); Marion's Camp at Snow's Island (approx. 6.8 miles away); Hannah (approx. 8.1 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Johnsonville.
 
Categories. War, US Revolutionary
 
Picture on the marker image. Click for full size.
By Anna Inbody, March 18, 2012
3. Picture on the marker
Reflecting much of the ethnic and religious diversity of colonial South Carolina, the Patriot militiamen who fought with Francis Marion included people of African, English, Huguenot, Native American, Ulster Scots, and mixed-race origins.Courtesy Jim Palmer, Jr.
Picture on the marker image. Click for full size.
By Anna Inbody, March 18, 2012
4. Picture on the marker
Militia soldier riding through a swamp. Courtesy Jim Palmer, Jr.
Map on the marker image. Click for full size.
By Anna Inbody, March 18, 2012
5. Map on the marker
Witherspoon’s Ferry across Lynches Creek (now Lynches River), an important crossing on the area’s main highway into North Carolina, depicted in Mills‘ Atlas(1825)
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Anna Inbody of Columbia, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 689 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Anna Inbody of Columbia, South Carolina. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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