Early in 1776 Maj. Gen. HOWE ordered Maj. Gen. HENRY CLINTON to sail south to capture Charleston and gather the support of the southern Tories. On 20 Feb 1776 1600 Scottish Highlanders set sail. They learned that North Carolina Rebels were gathering in the vicinity of Moore�s Creek Bridge. The Highlanders thought to end the southern rebellion once and for all and decided to fight. Joining them in North Carolina was Gen. MACDONALD who fought in the Battle of Culloden 1746. It was his wife, FLORA, who assisted �Bonnie� PRINCE CHARLIE to escape Scotland by disguising him as a maid servant and rowing him to the Isle of Skye. The MACDONALDS went to North Carolina in 1773.

The Patriots learned of the British force�s plan and gathered at Moore�s Creek bridge the night before, removed bridge planks and greased the two stringers.

In the meantime JOSEPH WILLIAMS rented horses from the widow MOORE and rode express to Johnson Co. and Wilmington to spread the word of the coming of the British forces. JOSEPH, ELIZA J�S 4th great grandfather was Colonel /Capt. Colonial in the Militia, a merchant, a tavern keeper, a miller, and planter; he was justice of County court and sheriff, Colonial Assembly, Duplin Co, NC, 1762-1769. His daughter HESTER was the wife of
WILLIAM WHITFIELD III. [ELIZA JANE�s 3rd great grandparents]

The Highlanders, expecting to find only a small rebel force, arrived at the bridge at dawn on 27 Feb. 1776, finding empty entrenchments. As they crossed the partially dismantled bridge, they were met by 1000 North Carolina patriots who were gathered quietly on the other side of the bridge with their two cannon and their muskets. Among those gathered were WILLIAM WHITFIELD III  with his brothers BRYAN and NEEDHAM. The British leaders, MCLEOD and CAMPBELL, were killed instantly. No one was left standing on the bridge. The others immediately retreated. Thirty Tories died and 850 were captured. There were only two Patriot casualties.

WILLIAM WHITFIELD and his brother-in-law, DANIEL WILLIAMS, captured Gen. MACDONALD. He and his brother NEEDHAM captured FARQUARD CAMPBELL, who had come to North Carolina as a youth with FLORA MACDONALD. FARQUARD stayed on in North Carolina, and, after the war, married their sister ELIZABETH, her 2nd husband. The MACDONALDS were expelled from the country to Nova Scotia, and after a time there, they returned to the Isle of Skye.

The defeat at Moore�s Creek Bridge discouraged other Tory sympathizers from fighting. Also less than two months later in April, North Carolina became the first state to vote for independence. This battle along with the Battle of Sullivans Island near Charleston, SC, a few months later, influenced the 13 colonies to declare independence in July 1776. The WHITFIELDS and the WILLIAMS continued to fight in the Revolution to the end.
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