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Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge

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Surnames/tags: American_Revolution North_Carolina
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Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge

The Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge was a battle of the American Revolutionary War fought near Wilmington, North Carolina on February 27, 1776. The victory of North Carolina Patriots over Southern Loyalists helped build political support for the revolution and increased recruitment of additional soldiers into their forces.

Loyalist recruitment efforts in the interior of North Carolina began in earnest with news of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and Patriots in the province also began organizing Continental Army and militia units. When word arrived in January 1776 of a planned British Army expedition to the area, Josiah Martin, the royal governor, ordered the Loyalist militia to muster in anticipation of their arrival. Patriot militia and Continental units mobilized to prevent the junction, blockading several routes until the poorly-armed Loyalists were forced to confront them at Moore's Creek Bridge, about 18 miles (29 km) north of Wilmington.

In a brief early-morning engagement, a charge across the bridge by sword-wielding Loyalist Scotsmen was met by a barrage of musket fire. One Loyalist leader was killed, another captured, and the whole force was scattered. In the following days, many Loyalists were arrested, putting a damper on further recruiting efforts. North Carolina was not militarily threatened again until 1780, and memories of the battle and its aftermath negated efforts by Charles Cornwallis to recruit Loyalists in the area in 1781. (1)

Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge

Part of: the American Revolutionary War
Date: February 27, 1776
Location: near Wilmington, North Carolina
Result: Patriot victory
Belligerents: United States North Carolina Patriots, British Loyalists

United States North Carolina Patriots

Commanders and leaders:
James Moore
Richard Caswell
Alexander Lillington
Strength: 1,050 militia
Casualties and losses: 1 killed, 1 wounded

British Loyalists

Commanders and leaders:
Donald MacDonald (POW)
Donald McLeod †
John Campbell †
Strength: Start of march: 1,400–1,600, Battle: 700–800
Casualties and losses:
30–50 killed or wounded
850 Loyalists were captured by Patriot forces after the battle and over the next few days.

For more information see also:

  • The Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge by J.D. Lewis at
  • Battle of Moores Creek Bridge, by Josh Howard at


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