Three lessons to be learned from great warrior moments of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars

Remember to be unconventional, never underestimate the power of individual influence, and never—ever—quit, just like these three warriors from early US history.


Francis Marion was nicknamed “the swamp fox.”  He is considered one of the fathers of guerrilla warfare by American special operation forces.

During the American Revolutionary War, Marion and his band of irregulars hid in the woods, attacked the Red Coats from concealment, and then retreated back into the wilds.  Infamously, the British believed, at the time, that the only “honorable” way to fight was by standing still and shooting in a line.

Today, we know how stupid that sounds, but it was the prevailing opinion of that era’s reigning superpower and Francis Marion turned this tactic on it’s head.

The British felt Marion’s tactics were unfair and called on him to “come out and fight like a Christian.”

So what can we learn from this today?

Lesson No. 1

Never fight the enemy on their terms.

Great warriors don’t always follow standard thought process.  Great warriors don’t try to win by fighting with one arm tied behind their backs, so to speak.  Intelligent warriors aren’t afraid to take risks in order to win, even at the risk of abnormal behavior and unconventional methods.


In 1864 during the Civil War battle of the Shenandoah Valley, the Union troops were scattered and retreating.  During the awful destruction of the Northern forces, a man on a big white horse raced to the men at top speed.  It was Union general Philip Sheridan.  He cried aloud, “I am here!  Turn about.  We will win.  We will save the Union.”

The men rejoiced, hugged each other and shouted, “Sheridan is here.”  The troops reformed and with new energy, they recaptured the Shenandoah Valley.

Lesson No. 2

One single trusted warrior can turn the hearts of the downtrodden and re-energize and refocus men and women, leading them on to victory.  Although you may not have the stature, authority or rank, never underestimate the power of your personal influence (especially in moments when everyone else is freaking out).


The Battle of Princeton occurred on January 3, 1777, during the American Revolution.  The British charge had scattered the Colonists and it fell to Brigadier General Hugh Mercer to rally his troops back together in one of their darkest hours.

Mercer did this by absolutely, unconditionally, refusing to surrender.  He was stabbed with a bayonet multiple times until he died–but his forces won the battle.

Lesson No. 3

Great warriors are solid in their commitment to their duties, and loyal to their cause.  They are willing to sacrifice for their subordinates, their teammates, their family and their country.

Cover: James Palmer

Safety warning: Jeffrey Denning is a long time professional in the art of self-defense and any training methods or information he describes in his articles are intended to be put into practice only by serious shooters with proper training.  Please read, but do not attempt anything posted here without first seeking out proper training.

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