Moores Creek National Battlefield
Currie, North Carolina

On February 27, 1776, in the pre-dawn hours, one thousand Patriots, under the commands of Colonel Richard Caswell and Colonel Alexander Lillington, met a Loyalist force of one thousand, six hundred men, under the commands of British Brigadier General Donald MacDonald and Lieutenant Colonel Donald McLeod at the bridge over Moores Creek, twenty miles northwest of Wilmington, North Carolina. The bridge was the final opportunity for the Patriots to halt the Loyalist advance to Wilmington where they were to join with the British troops which were soon to arrive. With the combined British Regulars and Carolina Loyalists, North Carolina's Royal Governor, Josiah Martin, planned to re-take the rebellious colony.

Just before dawn, these forces met in a brief, but decisive, battle. Captain John Campbell's Scottish Highlanders were sent on a broadsword charge across the remains of the bridge, which had been stripped of its planks by the Patriots. The Highlanders charged to the sounds of bagpipes, drums, and the cry of…

“King George and Broadswords!”

 

Loyalist Battle Cry

Patriot forces countered the attack with musket and cannon fire. When the battle was over, some thirty Loyalists lay dead while forty were wounded. The Patriot forces suffered only two casualties, one which resulted in the only Patriot death, that of John Grady.

With the Loyalist militia halted at the Moores Creek bridge, British naval and land forces, commanded by Sir Henry Clinton, Sir Peter Parker, and Lord Charles Cornwallis, left the North Carolina coast. Sailing south, in an attempt to capture Charleston, they were turned back at the entrance to the city's harbor by Patriot militia on Sullivan's Island. Withdrawing to New York, the British left the southern colonies undisturbed for four years, allowing the southern forces to join their brothers-in-arms to fight the enemy troops in the north.

Efforts to preserve the battlefield date to 1856 when James Banks, Esq., of Cumberland County, wrote articles for the February 4 and 7 editions of the Fayetteville Observer Semi Weekly in which he called attention to the battle and its neglect by history. While a good beginning was made to preserve the battlefield and erect monuments, the efforts were interrupted by the War of Southern Independence.

Not until 1876, with the citizens of the country experiencing "Centennial Fever," were any further efforts made to observe the battle or preserve the battlefield. Land was purchased in 1898, by act of the North Carolina General Assembly, and, in 1899, the Moore's Creek Monumental Association, today known as the Moore's Creek Battleground Association, was incorporated.

Since 1899 the association has overseen the purchase of additional land and the erection of several monuments for what was originally a state owned commemorative and recreational site. In 1926 the state of North Carolina conveyed the property to the United States War Department and it became the Moores Creek National Military Park. The park was later transferred to the Department of the Interior as a part of the National Park System.

Today, Moores Creek National Battlefield, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, is preserved for not only North Carolinians, but for all Americans as one of the places which led to our nation's independence.
 

     

All photographs ©2005-2010
by  
Westfield, NC

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