General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

Samuel Marion

Samuel Marion, one of the first patriots to move to Hawkins county TN. Marion help bring about the defeat of Burgoyne at Saratoga and Cornwallis at Yorktown.
Samuel Marion was born on September 21, 1756 in Gloucester County VA. In 1776 at the age of 20, Marion joined the Virginia 7th regiment under Captain Morris.
 Marion’s first major battle was at Saratoga. On September 19, 1777, Marion along with other soldiers of the Virginia 7th almost defeated Burgoyne at the first battle of Saratoga, also known as the battle of Freeman’s Farm. Had the Continental army not ran out of ammunition and Burgoyne not received reinforcements from the Hessian army, the Americans would have won this battle.
On October 17, 1777, Burgoyne surrendered after his 6000 man army was surrounded by 20000 Continental troops and local militia and he had lost almost 1000 men due to casualties in the three week battle. Had the British won at Saratoga, New England would have been split and isolated from the rest of the colonies with the British controlling the Hudson River and Valley
From December 1777 until June 1778, Marion was at Valley Forge under the command of Colonel A. MCclanachan. There were 13 Virginia regiments at Valley Forge. During the harsh winter months, the Virginia soldiers fared better on clothing than the rest of the army due to Governor Patrick Henry sending 15000 British pounds worth of woolens (about 18000 dollars worth of wool clothing) for the Virginia troops.
 The lack of Clothing was a major problem at Valley Forge General John Sullivan wrote a letter to the Continental Congress about the lack of clothing. In his letter he stated the following:
“The whole Army is without Watch coats, one- half without blankets and coats. One- third without shoes, stockings, breeches and jackets and several officers are almost naked due to the deterioration of their clothing”
Lack of clothing caused a major part of deaths at Valley Forge By the end of February 1778, over 2500 troops had died due to disease, hunger and lack of clothing, nearly one-third of the men at Valley Forge and over 3000 troops deserted with over 2000 of them joining the British Army.
After the battle of Monmouth, Marion went back to Gloucester county VA for a while. In 1779, Marion met Tabitha Barnett and was soon married. They would have 9 children from this union.
Marion’s next major battle was the battle of Petersburg. Petersburg is often referred to as a minor skirmish with major implications. On April 24, 1781, Marion and the other1000 VA militia under the command of Brigadier General Peter Muhlenberg defeated over 2500 British soldiers under the command of Major General William Phillips. This American victory gave Lafayette time to entrench Richmond and prevent a second sacking of the city. On January 4, 1781, most of Richmond had been burned down to the ground by the traitor Benedict Arnold when then Governor Thomas Jefferson refused to hand over the storehouses of tobacco. Richmond would not face such devastation again until the Civil War.
 Marion’s last battle was at the battle of Yorktown. Most battles during the revolutionary war were won by the Infantry. Yorktown was primarily an Artillery battle between the continental and French artillery and the British Artillery. From October9-17, the continentals fired 1700 shells into the British fortifications.  In a 9 day battle over15300 shells were fired at the British line. The British on average only fired 6 shells per hour for the next 9 days due to most of their artillery being knocked out during the intense Continental bombardment. On October 19, 1781, Cornwallis surrendered.
 After the war, Marion moved his family to Hawkins county TN (present day Hancock County). In 1832, Marion applied for a pension in Hawkins County. In the 1840s, Marion moved to the border of Lee County VA-Hancock county TN line. On October 30, 1843 Marion died and was buried in the Thompson- Whitehead-Wilder cemetery. Locate in Lee county VA near Thompson settlement Baptist church.
On September 23, 2006, Members of the Martin Station SAR Chapter VASSAR from Lee county VA and Members of The General Joseph Martin Chapter TNSSAR from Claiborne County TN held a SAR marker graveside service for Samuel Marion.   


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