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Battle of Moores Creek Bridge

American Revolution

by Josh Howard
Research Branch, NC Office of Archives and History, 2009

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See also: Moore's Creek Bridge (Battle)

Moores Creek Bridge photoFrom February 15 to 21, 1776, the days leading up to the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge, Whig forces under commander Colonel James Moore camped on Rockfish Creek. At that site they were eight miles south of Cross Creek (present-day Fayetteville) where Royal Governor Josiah Martin’s representative, Alexander McLean, and British officers General Donald MacDonald and Captain Donald McLeod were assembling a Loyalist militia. Their goal was to march the Loyalists to Wilmington and there defeat the Patriots, returning North Carolina to British rule. By fortifying the encampment at Rockfish Creek with over 1,000 men and five artillery pieces, Moore blocked the Loyalists’s most direct route to the coast.

To get around Moore’s blockade, Loyalists were forced to cross the Cape Fear River at Campbelton and use Negro Head Point Road, a route that crossed Moore’s Creek. When Col. Moore learned of the Loyalists’s chosen route, he sent messages to Colonel Richard Caswell to block their route at Corbett’s Ferry over the Black River, to Colonel Alexander Martin and Colonel James Thackston to take possession of Cross Creek to prevent their retreat, and to Colonel Alexander Lillington to fortify Moores Creek bridge. Moore led his men to Elizabeth Town in hopes of meeting the Loyalists on their way to Corbett’s Ferry. Aware of the location of Moore’s and Caswell’s forces, the Loyalists constructed a bridge four miles above the ferry and continued on towards Moores Creek. There they were met by artillery and rifles from Caswell’s and Lillington’s forces. By the time Col. Moore and his men arrived at Moores Creek bridge, the battle was over. The Patriots had defeated the Loyalists, killing or wounding at least fifty men. Moore and his men pursued the remaining Loyalists and captured 850 soldiers. With the victory at Moores Creek Bridge, North Carolina was saved from being overrun by the British.




William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, XI, 283

Hugh Franklin Rankin, “Moore’s Creek Bridge Campaign, 1776,” North Carolina Historical Review (January 1953): 23-60

Additional Resources:

National Park Service, Moores Creek website:

"The Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge." Revolutionary North Carolina. (accessed December 5, 2012).

Capps, Michael A. and Davis, Steven A. Moore's Creek National Battlefield: An Administrative History. National Park Service, Department of the Interior. June 1999. (accessed June 30, 2015).





Hi Janice,

Thanks for visiting NCpedia and sharing this.

I am forwarding your question to Reference Services at the NC Government & Heritage Library.  If you are still looking for information, a reference librarian will contact you shortly to help suggest resources.

Good luck and best wishes!

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


I'd be gratetful for information regarding the cannon that is shown in many online images relating to this NMP site. I assume it is a replica- being in rather too good a condition to be original. Does it bear any relation to the artillery deployed in the 1776 battle or is it simply a model in the style of the mid-to-late C18th sited in the park for atmosphere? Is the gun barrel perhaps original? Any information much appreciated. AMcC


Dear Arthur,

Thank you for visiting this NCpedia article.  And that's a great question.

Unfortunately, I don't have a ready answer.  I think the most direct approach would be to contact the National Park Service at the Moores Creek Bridge Battlefield site. Here is a link to their web page --

Please let us know if we can help with any other North Carolina information.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


Hello. I am trying to find information about Donald MacNichol, my ancestor. He arrived on the Jupitor in Wilmington NC in January of 1775. I have been trying to find what happened to the Scots who arrived in America during the revolution. I do not know if he was a loyalist or a patriot. I learned of this battle and am trying to find if he may have fought in it. Is there a list of the names of the combatants somewhere?
Thank you for your help.


Hi Lee,

Thanks for visiting NCpedia and sharing your history and question.

I am connecting you by email with the NC Govt. & Heritage Library.  A librarian will contact you to help you locate and access resources to help answer your question.

Good luck with your research!

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Libarary


Impressive story of the moores creek bridge.


Does anyone know which Loyalist units were involved? My mother's family has Loyalist forbears (much to our dismay, but "it is what it is," right?) I know they were with the Queen's American Rangers, commanded by the tyrannical Major John Simcoe. My research suggests that two Hains brothers (James and Israel) are buried there.
Any clues? Thanks!



Thank you for using NCpedia. There are a number of resources on the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge you may wish to check, as well as resources on Loyalists in the American Revolution. There are also a number of published works on the Queen’s Rangers and Simcoe. I checked a book titled Roster of the Loyalists at the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge by B. G. Moss. I'm afraid I didn't find any Hains listed in it, but also do not know if it is exhaustive. 

If you are looking for research tips concerning how to go about looking for this information, you may wish to connect with the reference staff at the NC Government & Heritage Library, part of the State Library of North Carolina. Contact information may be found at 

Good luck in your research!


Michelle Underhill, NC Government & Heritage Library


I love reading the things about the battle of Moore's creek bridge the story is my favorite.


I found your website while researching information related in the fictional writing of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, specifically her books about the life and times of her characters Claire Randall and Col Jamie Frasier during their residence in Orange County, NC, pre Revolutionary War. While reading any of Gibaldon's books, I always find myself researching online about the factional components she writes about in her books. I have booked marked your site for future reference. Thank you.

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