Monday, February 27, 2012

King George and Broadswords!

The Highlanders charged across Moore's Creek Bridge with shouts of "King George and Broadswords!" Behind the Scots came backcountry volunteers, many former members of the Regulators. Having rebelled against against the coastal planters before the Revolution, many Regulars opposed the Patriot movement dominated by coastal planters.

The Scottish Highlanders were actually running across the rails and stringers of the Bridge. American revolutionaries removed the planks. Historian David K. Wilson believes the Highlanders thought they were pursuing a retreating foe. Instead, the Scottish Highlanders and a number of former North Carolina Regulators faced Patriot artillery and pickets.

A barrage of Patriot gunfire prevented the Highlanders from closing the distance and making effective use of their broadswords. The Patriots had further advantage in numbers and morale. The Patriots numbered about 1,050, the Highland and Regulator Loyalists about 800. North Carolina Patriots engineered low Loyalist turnout; Davis writes that most Highland Scots refused to enlist for fear that Patriot government would confiscate their estates. The long march further reduced Loyalist numbers hours before the battle. Dwindling supplies further hastened the Loyalist retreat from the field.

The Patriots soon released most of the Highlanders and Regulators on parole--their pledge to refrain from further hostilities--and sent the officers and leaders to Halifax, North Carolina then to the custody of the Continental Congress.

David K. Wilson writes, "The action at Moore's Creek Bridge demonstrated that the North Carolina Whigs were more numerous, better organized, and more willing to fight than were their opponents." Read David K. Wilson, The Southern Strategy: Britain's Conquest of South Carolina and Georgia, 1775-1780 (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2005), page 33.

Lord George Germain promised British troops from Ireland by the middle of February. The Highlanders, as they forewarned their Regulator allies, could not rely on a timely arrival of British forces.

For Wilson's compelling description of the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge (Feb. 27, 1776), please check David K. Wilson, The Southern Strategy: Britain's Conquest of South Carolina and Georgia, 1775-1780(Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2005), 19-35. For a description of the Scottish Highlander settlement in North Carolina, and an explanation of their support for their Loyalism despite the 1745 uprising, read Duane Meyer, The Highland Scots of North Carolina, 1732-1776 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1987 [1957]). For another more on the Highlander and Regulator leaders as prisoners, check the post for December 27, 1776.
Post a Comment