The American Revolution in South Carolina

 Major Micajah Ganey*

Micajah Ganey, son of an Englishman, Stephen Ganey, who had settled early in the old Craven County period on a spot six miles below the present town of Marion, South Carolina. Micajah Ganey had a respectable and large plantation between Catfish Creek and the Little PeeDee River. Micajah Ganey was described as a “large and powerful” man with an intellect “above the ordinary standard.” (Rankin, Francis Marion: The Swamp Fox). “…was a handsome, soldierly man, intelligent, but somewhat overbearing and truculent and, when aroused, hot tempered and violent.” (Bass, The Swamp Fox, pp.48-50.)

During the Revolutionary War many colonials in South Carolina along the Little PeeDee River (Catfish Creek and Drowning Creek and the borderlands of South and North Carolina) were still loyal to King George the III. These loyalists formed a regiment militia of Loyalist Dragoons under the command of Major Micajah Ganey. Ganey at first took sides with the Revolutionary Patriots and served in the 2nd SC Regiment, but considering himself aggrieved by the plundering and pillaging of his plantation by the loose cannon, war-profitering Captain Maurice Murphy of the Patriots, he went over to the British, and was rewarded with a commission of Major and put in command of the Loyalists in the PeeDee region.

Micajah Ganey’s given credence was more than an excuse for his Loyalist affiliation, he fought against the Patriots because of Captain Maurice Murphy’s unprincipled violence, plundering and burning of house and planation and stealing his famous horses. Ganey sought recompense in many quarters, but no one came to his aid to resolve the raid and plunderings of Murphy. So he rode off to Georgetown for a British commission. In his "History of the Old Cheraws," Bishop Alexander Gregg scoffs at Ganey's explanation for taking up arms against his country and his kinsmen and declares it "readily framed for his traitorous course." But for whatever reason, Ganey was to the Loyalists of the Pee Dee what Francis Marion was to the Patriots -- leaders around whom they rallied in bloody Carolina civil strife. Gregg goes on to say that Ganey might have made, if so disposed, a most efficient champion of liberty.

Micajah Ganey chose his alligiance and with his commission and a following of people throughout the PeeDee region became a strong, reliable leader for the Loyalists and sometimes could bring together a large following at times: 200, 500, or even 900 men. Though Ganey never defeated Marion, he regularly kept him and other Patriot leaders in the region constantly busy and was able to reunite his own men after being scattered time and time again throughout 1780-1782.

Major Micajah Ganey was considered an excellent partisan officer for the Loyalists and stood high as a great champion of the Loyalists and the British, and, in the judgment of some, able to cope with Francis Marion himself. Tough old Micajah Ganey, a hard fighting Loyalist partisan commander, was one of Francis Marion's greatest opponents in the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Marion and Ganey fought many battles and skirmishes against each other through the later years of the Revolutionary War (1780-1782). Ultimately, Marion and Ganey met to establish a treaty at Burch’s Mill on June 8, 1782, after the skirmish at Bowling Green. Major Micajah Ganey served out the reminder of the war fighting by Brigadier General Francis Marion’s side…and as some have said …heroically.

Francis Marion’s first engagement as brigade commander of the SC Militia was at Port’s Ferry against Major Micajah Ganey. Francis Marion’s last engagement as brigade commander of the SC Militia was at Wadboo Planation with Major Micajah Ganey fighting with him by his side.

After the war, the feeling against Micajah Ganey was so strong, that he was compelled to leave South Carolina, and he removed to Richmond County, North Carolina. It is said that 50 years after the struggle of the revolution had ended, there were men in Marion County who would have killed him on sight. After the war, Ganey remained in North Carolina and became a well-regarded citizen, known for his high character and integrity.

A chronological collection of sources on Micajah Ganey and his connections to Francis Marion was presented at the 20th Annual Francis Marion Symposium on October 21 2022 – The Fox and the Hound: Francis Marion & Micajah Ganey. Please Click Here to review or download. The author’s intent is to disseminate the information in hope of finding more sources of information. Please contact Loyd R. Ganey, Jr. at

*Also found as Micajah Gainey.

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