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Battle of Moore’s Creek

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

This morning, the North Carolina minute men and militia, under the command of Brigadier-General James Moore, had an engagement with the Tories, at Widow Moore’s Creek bridge. 1 At the break of day, an alarm gun was fired, immediately after which, scarcely leaving the Americans a moment to prepare, the Tory army, with Captain McCloud at their head, made their attack on Colonels Caswell and Lillington, posted near the bridge, and finding a small intrenchment vacant, concluded that the Americans had abandoned their post. With this supposition, they advanced in a most furious manner over the bridge. Colonel Caswell had very wisely ordered the planks to be taken up, so that in passing they met with many difficulties. On reaching a point within thirty paces of the breastworks, they were received with a very heavy fire, which did great execution. Captains McCloud and Campbell were instantly killed, the former having nine bullets and twenty-four swan shot through and into his body. The insurgents retreated with the greatest precipitation, leaving behind them some of their wagons, &c. They cut their horses out of the wagons, and mounted three upon a horse. Many of them fell into the creek and were drowned. Tom Rutherford ran like a lusty fellow: –both he and Felix Keenan were in arms against the Carolinians, and they by this time are prisoners, as is Lieutenant-Colonel Cotton, who ran at the first fire. The battle lasted three minutes. Twenty-eight of the Tories, besides the two captains, are killed or mortally wounded, and between twenty and thirty taken prisoners, among whom is his Excellency General Donald McDonald. This, we think, will effectually put a stop to Toryism in North Carolina. 1


1 Moore’s Creek runs from North to South, and empties into South River, about eighteen miles above Wilmington, North Carolina.

2 New York Packet, March 28, and Pennsylvania Evening Post, March 23.

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