The loyalists, mostly Scottish Highlanders wielding broadswords, expected to find only a small patriot force. As the loyalists advanced across the bridge, patriot shots rang out and dozens of loyalists fell, including their commanders.
Stunned, outgunned and leaderless, the loyalists surrendered, retreating in confusion. Wagons, weapons and British sterling worth more than $1 million by today's value were seized by the patriots in the days following the battle.
In addition to ending British authority in the colony, the patriot victory led North Carolina to be the first colony to vote for independence. The Battle of Moores Creek Bridge, coupled with the Battle of Sullivans Island near Charleston, SC a few months later, influenced the 13 colonies to declare independence on July 4, 1776.
THE BATTLEFIELD TODAY
Throughout the park, remnants remain of the 1776 road traveled by patriot and loyalist forces. A .7-mile trail with wayside exhibits leads through the battlefield and across Moores Creek. The historic bridge site is located along the trail.
The park offers a visitor center with exhibits, lighted troop movement maps and film; a .3 mile colonial forest trail, and a picnic area.