lighthouse at Fire Island
Last Week's Getaway:
Fire Island National Seashore
New York

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reconstructed bridge
Patriot troops partially dismantled the bridge spanning Moores Creek before the 1776 battle, creating an additional surprise for opposition forces. (NPS photo)

ranger and Junior ranger share excitement
Kids can dig deeper into park history when they take part in the park's Junior Ranger program. (NPS photo)

Heroic Women Monument
The Heroic Women Monument was erected in 1907 to recognize the sacrifices made by the women of the Lower Cape Fear. (NPS photo)

musicians march dressed in 1776 Patriot outfits Homepage photo: Members of the Guilford Courthouse Fife and Drum portray Patriot forces on the march.
(NPS photo)

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A New National Park Getaway Every Wednesday

Moores Creek National Battlefield
North Carolina

The story of America and the signing of the Declaration of Independence is a fascinating one. This great tale cannot be told without including the remarkable events that took place during a small civil war in the remote Cape Fear region of North Carolina where a grassroots revolution was taking place that would change the world forever.

The Battle at Moores Creek Bridge is a testimony to the brave men and women who stood up for what they believed to be right. A walk around Moores Creek National Battlefield takes you back to 1776 when everything was uncertain, and nothing was guaranteed. The Battle at Moores Creek Bridge is a true American story that signified the great changes that were about to come to the colonies.

Your tour starts on the walking trail, following a former service road that connected the ports of Wilmington and Brunswick Town to Cross Creek (present day Fayetteville). Negro Head Point Road was used to transport goods and occasionally slaves to be sold in Cross Creek. It's a solemn reminder of the way things used to be. Traveling north from Wilmington, this road soon crosses Moores Creek Bridge, where, on February 27, 1776, North Carolina Patriots battled with a Loyalist army marching to rendezvous with a British force on the North Carolina coast.

The trail starts at the visitor center, leads you past the earthworks built by Patriot troops preparing for action, and continues on to the battleground. Here you can envision the thousands of young men getting ready for battle. A short detour from the old road puts you on a boardwalk, where you get an idea of what Col. James Moore, the senior Continental officer during the campaign, meant when he later described conditions at Moores Creek as “A very bad swamp.”

On the other side of the creek, you'll see where British Loyalists, led by Col. Richard Caswell, paused for attempted negotiations before marching to the bridge to meet the resistance. At Caswell's campsite you'll learn of a plan set by the Patriots to ensure Loyalist defeat. Following the route that Loyalists took, you cross the reconstructed Moores Creek Bridge. Across the bridge stand two cannons, Mother Covington and her daughter, used as a hidden surprise against the unsuspecting Loyalist marchers.

As you make your way out of the battlefield to view the Patriot, Loyalist, and Heroic Women monuments you'll have the chance to reflect on the sacrifices made on both sides. Historians have speculated that without the victory at Moores Creek Bridge the nation's history would have been drastically different. Thanks to the brave men and women who took part in these events, the colonies were sent on a path that would change the world forever. North Carolina became the first colony to vote for independence.

The battle is commemorated annually during the last full weekend in February. Rangers provide free guided tours seven days a week upon request.

By Jonathan Grubbs, Park Guide and Public Relations Coordinator, Moores Creek National Battlefield

Learn more about the American Revolution.