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Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge


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Moores Creek National Battlefield is managed by the National Park Service of the United States, and is located in North Carolina, about 20 miles (30 km) northwest of Wilmington. It was the site of a small battle between American colonists loyal to the British monarchy, those rebelling against it. It was was one of the events leading to the American Revolution.

Patriot victory in 1776

“King George and Broadswords!” shouted Loyalists as they charged across partially dismantled Moores Creek bridge on February 27, 1776. Just beyond the bridge nearly a thousand North Carolina Patriots waited quietly with cannons and muskets poised to fire.

The Loyalists, mostly Scottish Highlanders wielding broadswords, expected to find only a small Patriot force. As the Loyalists advanced across the bridge, Patriot shots rang out and dozens of Loyalists fell, including their commanders. One commander was Col. Allan Macdonald, the husband of the famous Flora Macdonald of Highland lore who aided Prince Charles Esward Stuart, (a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Charlie) following the Jacobite defeat at Culloden Moor in 1746.

Stunned, outgunned and leaderless, the Loyalists surrendered, retreating in confusion. Wagons, weapons and British sterling worth more than $1 million by today’s value were seized by the Patriots in the days following the battle.

This dramatic victory ended British authority in the colony and greatly influenced North Carolina to be the first colony to vote for independence. The Battle of Moores Creek Bridge, coupled with the Battle of Sullivans Island near Charleston, South Carolina a few months later, ultimately led the Thirteen Colonies to declare independence on July 4, 1776.

Today

Throughout the park, remnants remain of the 1776 road traveled by Patriot and Loyalist forces. A 1-mile (1.6 km) trail with wayside exhibits leads through the battlefield and across Moores Creek. The historic bridge site is located along the trail.

The park offers a visitor center with exhibits and audio-visual program; a 0.3 mile (0.5 km) colonial forest trail, and a picnic area.
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