Leading Like the Swamp Fox

The Leadership Lessons of Francis Marion

Kevin Dougherty, Steven D. Smith

A study of Francis Marion's leadership in the South Carolina lowcountry campaigns.
Date Published :
May 2022
Publisher :
Illustration :
10–20 photographs
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781636241159
Pages : 240
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


A riveting and applicable study of how Francis Marion delivered the leadership and strategy to defeat the British in the South Carolina lowcountry campaigns.

After futilely chasing his nemesis through miles of swamps, British dragoon Banastre Tarleton told his exhausted men, ‘Come, my Boys! Let us go back, and we will find the Gamecock [Thomas Sumter], but as for this damned old fox, the Devil himself could not catch him.’ From Tarleton’s lament, Francis Marion acquired the nickname ‘Swamp Fox’ and became the very symbol of the Patriot cause in the South Carolina lowcountry. Yet, Tarleton and those like him seemed to have all the advantages. More men and equipment. Better training. Greater firepower. Still somehow Marion routinely got the best of his foes. How? Surely Marion benefited from his local intelligence and the fervor of his cause, but in and of themselves, these advantages would not have been sufficient to overcome the British military preponderance. It took leadership to defeat the British and Marion delivered it. This book explains how he did it.

The book has three parts. The first section establishes the historical background and context necessary to appreciate Marion’s situation. In the second section, eight different broad leadership categories are addressed, each with a brief explanation of the leadership competency at hand and then an example of that competency as demonstrated by Marion. The third section captures some conclusions about how leadership impacted the American Revolution in the South Carolina lowcountry and provides some information about how the reader might explore those physical reminders of Marion and his exploits that exist today. Readers interested in history or leadership or both will all find something for them in Leading Like the Swamp Fox.

About The Author

Kevin Dougherty is the Assistant Commandant for Leadership Programs at The Citadel and the author of several books including The Campaigns for Vicksburg, 1862–1863 (Casemate 2011), which illustrates leadership principles through historical narrative.

Steven D. Smith is a Research Professor at the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of South Carolina. He is the author of several books and articles on Francis Marion, including Partisans, Guerrillas, and Irregulars: The Historical Archaeology of Asymmetric Warfare (University of Alabama Press, 2019) and Francis Marion and the Snow’s Island Community: Myth, History, and Archaeology (United Writers Press, 2021).



Part One: Understanding Francis Marion’s Revolutionary War

Part Two: Leadership Lessons and Vignettes
Francis Marion and a Leader’s Frame of Reference
Francis Marion and the Responsibility of Leadership
Francis Marion and the Interpersonal Component of Leadership
Francis Marion and Communicating as a Leader
Francis Marion and a Leader’s Need to Solve Problems

Part Three: Summary

Conclusions about Leadership During the Lowcountry Campaign
Some Reminders of the Lowcountry Campaign

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