…but in the wilds just west of Wilmington, North Carolina a little ruckus at Widow Moore’s Creek Bridge saved the rebellion’s bacon.
Loyalists were unaware of what they would encounter as they charged across a partially dismantled Moores Creek Bridge on February 27, 1776. Just beyond the bridge nearly 1,000 North Carolina patriots waited quietly with cannons and muskets poised to fire. This dramatic victory ended British rule in the colony forever.
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.
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.
In addition to ending British authority in the colony, the patriot victory led 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, SC a few months later, influenced the 13 colonies to declare independence on July 4, 1776.
Waiting on the other side of the bridge were mountain Scotsmen who hunted squirrels and had given up broadswords a long, long time ago. Legend has it that’s where NC got “Scotland” County’s name from ~ as a thanks to those Scots who chose to ignore the Loyalist call from the governor and fought for the new nation forming.
Did you know?
The last Scottish clan army was the militia raised in the Cape Fear area of North Carolina to fight as British loyalists in 1776. They mounted what is believed to be the last major broadsword charge in Scottish history. Their story is told at Moores Creek National Battlefield.
Known as the “Lexington and Concord” of the South, the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge on February 27, 1776, near Wilmington, North Carolina, crushed the loyalists, encouraged the Whigs, stimulated the independence movement and kept the British from invading the state in 1776.
We’ve been down for their historical encampments and battle re-enactments. GO, if you ever have the chance.