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[287] and could not be reached for want of boats. The
Chap. LVIII.} 1776. Feb.
royalists were in extreme danger; but at a point six miles higher up the Black River a negro succeeded in raising for their use a broad shallow boat; and while Maclean and Fraser, with a few men, a drum and a pipe, were left to amuse Caswell, the main body of the loyalists crossed Black River near what is now Newkirk Bridge.

On the twenty fifth Lillington, who had not as yet been able to join Caswell, took post with his small party on the east side of the bridge over Moore's Creek. On the afternoon of the twenty sixth, Caswell reached its west side, and raising a small breastwork and destroying a part of the bridge, awaited the enemy, who on that day advanced within six miles of him. A messenger from the loyalists, sent to his camp under the pretext of summoning him to return to his allegiance, brought back word that he had halted upon the same side of the river with themselves, and could be attacked with advantage; but the wise Carolina commander, who was one of the best woodmen in the province, as well as a man of superior ability, had no sooner misled his enemy, than lighting up fires and leaving them burning, he crossed the creek, took off the planks from the bridge, and placed his men behind trees and such slight intrenchments as the night permitted to be thrown up.

The loyalists, expecting an easy victory, unanimously agreed that his camp should be immediately assaulted. His force at that time amounted to a thousand men, consisting of the Newbern minute men, of militia from Craven, Johnson, Dobbs, and Wake counties, and the detachment under Lillington. The

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