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).





I am looking for, Why did the Battle of Moore's Creek happen?


Hi Shelby,

You might be interested in this additional NCpedia article about the battle -- It includes more information about the events leading up to the battle.

I hope this helps! Please post back if you have more questions.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


Hello - I am looking for information on Gabriel Davey, 1750-1807 from Caswell County. From what I have found he own sever thousand acres near & around the Tar River.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!



he owned several thousand acers of land near & around the Tar River


I am looking for information on Neil McGraw. Some distant relatives indicated that he may have been a Loyalist and fought for the British during the Battle of Moore's Bridge. They also indicated that he was injured during the battle. After the war, he relocated to New Brunswick, Canada.


Hi Bruce,


I am forwarding your question to Reference Services at the NC Government & Heritage Library.  A reference librarian will contact you shortly to help you with this question. 

Marie Jones, Government & Heritage Library


I have some Foy family papers that tell the story of our ancestor, James Foy, who owned Foy's Ordinary in Jacksonville, NC (Washington entered in his diary that he stayed there during his tour of the Commonwealths) and Sugar Hill plantation and the supposed role he played in shooting one of the leading officers of the Loyalists during the battle thus resulting in a Patriot victory. Is there anyway I might research to confirm or substantiate this family history? My family and I have visited Moore's Creek but did not know at the time of my ancestor's participation. Any help would be appreciated. We plan on making another trip soon. V E Streeter


I'm trying to find out if the Lt Colonel Archibald Lytle who fought at the Moore's Creek Bridge battle is my relative. Entries in had him listed as my relative but then had his death as 1729 which makes it impossible for him to have fought in the Revolutionary War! Any help would be greatly appreciated & thank you!


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

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