When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few.
February 27, 1776 Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge
The royal governor of North Carolina, Josiah Martin, began to muster the Loyalist militia in order to suppress the unrest including a Scottish regiment lead by Allan Maclean from North Carolina. At the same time, British General William Howe and General Henry Clinton planned to target Charleston, South Carolina hoping that a show of force would inspire Loyalists to join British war effort. The Loyalists troops were to rendezvous with the British troops in Brunswick, near Wilmington. Maclean mustered nearly 1,600 Loyalists who set out for the coast to meet with the British troops. The Continental Army Patriots blocked planned route to the sea near Cross Creek, forcing the Loyalists to cross Moore’s Creek Bridge, where almost 1,000 Patriots were camped.
Maclean’s Loyalists sent a messenger to the Continental camp, offering pardon if they surrendered. The offer was refused but the messenger then knew the position of the camp and the complement of the army so that night, expecting an attack from the Tories, the army moved across the creek, leaving their tents and fires as a trap. Deck planks from the bridge were then removed and the railing and supports greased. Around 1 a.m., the Loyalists charged the camp, found it empty but saw some men across the bridge. Captain McLeod then ordered his Loyalists to charge across the compromised bridge. The Patriots opened fire with two cannons and muskets. The Battle of Moore’s Bridge resulted in one Patriot death and more than 30 Loyalist fatalities. The remaining Loyalists scattered, and some were captured and imprisoned. The Patriots seized much-needed supplies and imprisoned the officers as prisoners of war.
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