Moores Creek National Battlefield and Adventures
There is always something new to explore at Moores Creek National Battlefield.
By Jason M Collins
The woodpeckers slowly peck away at the giant trees, while a squirrel goes scurrying by. There is not a car in sight as you stroll along the grassy savannah heading toward the creek. Amid the beauty of nature, mounds of dirt offer a reminder of a bloody struggle that took place in this space almost 250 years ago. An audio listening box plays the sound of the bagpipes that may have played the morning of the battle, leading the Loyalists across Moores Creek Bridge.
In the busy world that we find ourselves in, this place offers the chance to step outside and experience the peace and tranquility of nature. Opportunities abound to see unique carnivorous plants like the Venus fly trap and perhaps even an elusive alligator.
Where can you go to get such a unique opportunity to experience so many different ecosystems and stories? The answer lies nestled in western Pender County, Moores Creek National Battlefield. Moores Creek is an 88-acre park that offers a variety of opportunities for all visitors to experience the outdoors. Make sure to bring your camera as the park offers many great photo opportunities!
Moores Creek National Battlefield commemorates the first decisive Patriot victory of the American Revolution.
It commemorates the site of the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge where Loyalist forces made a fateful charge across Moores Creek and into heavily fortified Patriot earthworks on the morning of February 27, 1776. It was this victory that allowed the colony of North Carolina to seek out and vote for independence, becoming the first colony to take such an important step toward breaking away from Great Britain.
Walking along the one mile of trails at the park affords you the opportunity to meet and interact with visitors from all over the area, country, and even the world. You might see a Junior Ranger working hard on their activity book to earn their Junior Ranger badge. You might see someone who is in the middle of a lifelong quest to visit every national park in the nation. You may see a new B.A.R.K. Ranger walking with their human.
They, and their human, have learned the importance of following the B.A.R.K. Ranger principles and the important role that they play in protecting the vital resources of the park. All dogs who visit the park are eligible to receive their B.A.R.K. Ranger dog tag. You may notice a family enjoying a quiet picnic at the park’s many picnic tables and the picnic shelter. Many of these families have been coming to the park to picnic for decades. Occasionally, you will see a ranger or volunteer dressed in period clothing sharing the important stories of the Patriots and Loyalists who fought here. You may hear the occasional musket or even cannon being fired, which transports you back to this site in 1776.
The walking trails intersect with the Old Stage Road (a colonial road dating back to the time of the battle).
For brief moments in time, you are walking along the same trails that newly emigrated Highland Scots walked to get to their new homes in the interior of North Carolina. It was also the site of the forced migration of enslaved peoples as they were headed from the coast to interior after being sold.
As you walk across Moores Creek on a modern boardwalk and modern recreation of the bridge, visitors can imagine flatboats full of materials that used Moores Creek as a vital transportation hub to move their goods to Wilmington, and eventually to Brunswicktown and the coast. Want a more immersive experience? Bring your kayak and float on the murky waters of Moores Creek. You can even bring your fishing pole and fish for some of the same fish that folks in this area did 250 years ago.
The walking trails will also lead you to discover the important role that North Carolina played in the Naval Stores industry, especially the production of tar, pitch, and turpentine for British ships. The trail will take you deep into the pine forest and you can imagine an era when these large trees dominated a landscape from North Carolina to Texas. The trails also share the story of some of the early settlers in the area, the Gullah Geechee, and their legacy. Gullah culture lives on today, especially in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. An old tar kiln offers a look back to the hard work that had to be completed to extract the valuable resource from the pine logs.
Whether it is your first visit to Moores Creek, or your fiftieth, there is always something new to explore and enjoy. Whether it’s new exhibits that have been added to share more of the park story, or new programs for kids and for adults, Moores Creek offers an experience for everyone to enjoy.