The Battle of Moores Creek Bridge – February 27, 1776
The Battle of Moores Creek Bridge, fought between North Carolina Patriot and Loyalist militia forces, demonstrates the bitter internal divisions that marked the American Revolution. The Loyalists, mostly Scottish Highlanders wielding broadswords, charged 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 Loyalist advanced across the bridge. Shots rang out and 30 to 70 Loyalists lay wounded or dead, including Lt. Col. Donald McLeod, who led the charge. Stunned, outgunned, and leaderless, some of the Loyalists surrendered, while others retreated in confusion.
Moores Creek is the site of the first Patriot victory in the American Revolution and the site of the last Scottish Highland broadsword charge. The victory ended British authority in the colony and stalled a full-scale British invasion of the South for nearly four years. The resulting Halifax Resolves of April 12, 1776, instructed North Carolina’s delegates to the Continental Congress to vote for independence; it was the first American colony to take such action.