SC History Trail

Snow's Island

Still in a wilderness state much as it was in the Revolutionary War, Snow's Island was the base camp for operations by Brigadier General Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox of the Revolution". Although privately owned and inaccessible to the general public, the island may be viewed across the Great Pee Dee River from Dunham's Bluff, off U.S. 17, approximately 18 miles west of Conway.


Snow's Island
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Site Description
During the American Revolution, British forces captured Charleston in 1780, defeated and drove Continental forces from South Carolina, and occupied the state with troops based at numerous fortified posts. For much of 1780, the only serious opposition to the sometimes brutal British occupation came from militia forces commanded by "partisan" or guerrilla leaders - and the most famous and effective partisan leader was Francis Marion. Commissioned as a brigadier general in the South Carolina militia, Marion organized and led local militia troops in a ceaseless campaign against the British, routing Loyalist militia, raiding British supply lines, and attacking British posts. The infamous British dragoon commander, Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, tried and failed to capture or kill Marion, and in a fit of frustration gave him his famous nickname: the "Swamp Fox of the Revolution".

Marion's relentless hit-and-run tactics seriously undermined the British Southern strategy to win the Revolution in the South. Eventually, the British commander in South Carolina, General Charles Cornwallis, moved his army from South Carolina to Virginia where General George Washington forced his surrender at Yorktown in October of 1781. Many of Marion's operations were conducted from a secret base camp he established on Snow's Island which is formed by the Great Pee Dee River, Lynches River and Clark's Creek.

A South Carolina historic marker on U.S. 378 at Dunham's Bluff Road (16 miles west of Conway in the Briton's Neck community) notes the existence of Marion's camp on Snow's Island which was finally raised by Loyalist troops in March of 1781. Although it has been repeatedly timbered over the ages, Snow's Island today retains the wild and almost inaccessible nature that characterized it during the Revolutionary War.

It is privately owned and is not open to the public, but it may be viewed from across the Great Pee Dee River at Dunham's Bluff. Visitors may take Dunham Bluff Road, a dirt road near the Highway 378 marker, and follow it approximately two miles to the Pee Dee River to Dunham's Bluff, where Marion's troops erected an earthen redoubt. Modern historical signs now mark the location which is a key site on the Francis Marion Trail. Across the Great Pee Dee from Dunham's Bluff lies Snow's Island - the wilderness lair of the "Swamp Fox".
Access and Admission
Access Description: not open to the public but may be viewed across the Great Pee Dee River
Ownership: private