In January, 1776, Sir Henry Clinton
sailed from Boston
on a secret mission.
Suspecting his destination to be New York, Washington
sent General Lee
His presence probably deterred Clinton
from landing, after a conference with Governor Tryon
, and he proceeded to the coast of North Carolina
to assist Governor Martin
in the recovery of his power in that province.
, aware of his approach, and anticipating an armament from Ireland
, kept up a continual intercourse from his “floating palace” on the Cape Fear
with the Scotch Highlanders
(who had settled in large numbers in that province) and other Tories.
He commissioned Donald McDonald
He was a veteran who had fought for the Young Pretender
at the battle of Culloden
(1746). Under him, as captain, was Allan McDonald
These two men had great influence over the Scotch Highlanders
They enlisted for the royal cause about 1,500 men, and marched from the vicinity of Fayetteville
for the coast to join the governor and his friends on the Cape Fear
. Col. James Moore
, on hearing of this movement, marched with more than 1,000 men to intercept McDonald
At the same time minute-men of the Neuse
region, under Colonels Caswell
, were gathering to oppose the loyalists, and on the evening of Feb. 26 were encamped at a bridge near the mouth of Moore's Creek
, in Hanover county
, chased by Colonel Moore
, came upon the minute-men.
He was sick, and the force was commanded by Lieutenant
A sharp battle ensued the next morning, when McLeod
were routed and dispersed, and about 850 of them were made prisoners, among them the two McDonalds.
The loyalists lost seventy men, killed and wounded.
The republicans had only two wounded, one mortally.