The Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge

Ashlyn Keziah and Sarah Speir


  • Date: February 27, 1776
  • Location: Moore's Creek Bridge, North Carolina. Near present-day Wilmington
  • Outcome: Patriot Victory


  • For nearly a decade, North Carolina had been more aggressive in the Patriot cause that its neighbors.
  • Josiah Martin, North Carolina's royal governor, requested military support.
  • British Colonel Donald McLeod was sent in along with 1,600 Loyalist troops.
  • The Loyalists were marching towards the North Carolina Coast, were they planned to join forces with British Redcoats and other Loyalist troops.
  • There in Wilmington, they planned to defeat Patriot troops.

The Battle

  • On their way to Wilmington, the Loyalist troops marched through New Hanover County, present day Pender County.
  • Their route included crossing Moore's Creek Bridge.
  • Seeing an opportunity, Commander Richard Caswell took about 1,000 Patriot troops to attack the Loyalists at Moore's Creek Bridge.
  • The British heard of the Patriot's plan, but, only expecting a small number of troops, continued towards the bridge.
  • Ahead of the Loyalists, the Patriots hid in the woods surrounding Moore's Creek Bridge, with muskets and cannons at the ready.
  • When they arrived, the British were quickly cut down by Patriot Musket and cannon fire.
  • One of the British Commanders was killed, and the Loyalist troops were left confused and leaderless.
  • In chaos, the Loyalists surrendered and retreated.
  • In the days following the battle, Patriots seized goods left behind by the British including wagons, weapons, and British sterling worth about $1 million in today's value.
A: Caswell's Movement

B: MacDonald's Movement

C: Lillington and Ashe's Movement (Patriot Officers)

D: Moore's Movement (Patriot Officers)


  • The battle resulted in a Patriot victory.
  • Patriots killed: 1
  • Patriots wounded: 1
  • Patriots captured: 0
  • Loyalists killed: 30
  • Loyalists wounded: 20
  • Loyalists captured: 850
  • The victory was a morale boost for the Patriot troops.
  • Also, this ended British rule in North Carolina.
  • Within two months of the battle, North Carolina was the first colony to vote in favor of independence.

Interesting Facts

  • First battle on North Carolina soil during the Revolutionary War.
  • After only three minutes of fighting the battle was over.
  • The royal government had to flee from the colony, and Britan was no longer port in the colonies coastal towns.
  • In addition, the victory aroused delegates to meet in Halifax on April 12 1776, to discuss North Carolina's support of independance.
  • Moores Creek Bridge has been reconstructed in Pender County and park commemorates the early Revolutionary War victory in North Carolina.

Colonel Richard Caswell

  • Richard Caswell was a militia officer and later North Carolina governor, was born in Maryland.
  • Born August 3, 1729 in Maryland. His father was a prominent businessman, military leader, and Maryland legislator.
  • He was trained to be a surveyor, and moved to North Carolina in 1746. There, he gained a great reputation as a reliable surveyor.
  • He then decided to pursue a law career. He studied law, was admitted to the bar, then opened a law practice in HIllsboro, NC.
  • In 1754, he was admitted to the North Carolina Colonial Assembly, where he served for 20 years.
  • At the beginning of his political career, he was loyal to the crown, however, by 1771, his political changed drastically.
  • He retired from the Colonial Assembly, where he then served in the colonial militia. He served as a Colonel and later Brigadier General.
  • He was one of the three delegates from North Carolina sent to the first Continental Congress.
  • He also helped draft the colony's first Constitution.
  • Later on, he was elected as North Carolina's first and fifth governor. His second term was hard, and filled with the struggles of a new nation and state.
  • On November 10, 1789, Caswell died from a stroke he had two days earlier.