From Moores Creek National Battlefield
On Feb. 25-26, hundreds flocked to the battlefield site of Moores Creek Bridge, where North Carolina Patriots and Loyalist militia forces squared off, for the 241st anniversary reenactment.
The Battle of Moores Creek Bridge, Feb. 27, 1776, demonstrated the bitter divisions that marked the American Revolution. The Loyalists, mostly Scottish Highlanders wielding broadswords, led a charge across a partially dismantled Moores Creek Bridge.
Nearly a thousand North Carolina Patriots waited quietly with cannons and muskets poised to fire. Expecting to find only a small Patriot force, the Loyalists advanced across the bridge. Shots rang out and when the smoke cleared, some 30 to 70 Loyalists lay dead or wounded. Among the dead was Lt. Col. Donald McLeod, who had led the fatal charge.
Stunned, outgunned and leaderless, some of the Loyalists surrendered, while others retreated in confusion. This victory spurred the creation of the Halifax Resolves on April 12, 1776, which instructed North Carolina’s delegates to the Continental Congress to vote for independence. North Carolina was the first American colony to do so. Less than three months later, the United States would ratify the Declaration of Independence.
The battle effectively ended royal authority in the North Carolina colony and stalled a full-scale British invasion of the South.
In the photos on this page and C4, Sebrinia Johnson, photography instructor at Sampson Community College, captures the essence of life in 1776 and the battle that raged at Moores Creek Bridge. It was a brief, violent clash at daybreak on that February morning.
For more information on the battle and future reenactments call 910-283-5591, visit the website at www.nps.gov/mocr of like the battlefield on Facebook at www.facebook.com/moorescreeknps.