north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     On January 10, 1776, North Carolina’s Royal Governor Josiah Martin issued a proclamation calling all loyal subjects to unite and suppress the rebellion against the Crown occurring throughout the colony. With that proclamation loyalist leaders in Anson, Cumberland, Chatham, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Surry, and Bute counties were given the authority to recruit militia, commission officers, and seize arms of any rebels. Once assembled, the Tory militias were to asked to rendezvous and march to Brunswick.

     Alexander Morrison’s house in Cross Hill was the designated as the Tory rendezvous point. Cross Hill was a community near Carthage in central Moore County. Many of those recruited to the Tory militia were Highlanders from Scotland. The Scots were quick to take up the British offer of 200 acres for serving the Crown. They also were promised that they would be issued arms, receive the same pay as regular troops, be compensated for any personal equipment used, and not have to fight outside of the colony. Approximately 500 Highlanders gathered under Lieutenant Colonel Donald McLeod at Cross Hill.

     Departing from Cross Hill, McLeod led the loyalists to Cross Creek (present-day Fayetteville) in Cumberland County where Brigadier Donald McDonald continued to organize loyalist troops for the march to the coast. On February 18, 1776, McDonald led the loyalist army out of Cross Creek. On February 27, the Tory forces encountered patriot forces at Moores Creek Bridge. The patriots defeated and scattered the Loyalists, killing or wounding at least fifty men. The loyalists never made it to the coast and as a result the British authority in the colony began a precipitous wane.

Hugh Franklin Rankin, “Moore’s Creek Bridge Campaign, 1776,” North Carolina Historical Review (January 1953): 23-60
Moores Creek Battlefield Website:
William S. Powell, North Carolina Gazetteer (1968)
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north carolina highway historical marker program

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