Key historic battlefield under hurricane floodwater in NC, damage still a mystery

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A battlefield dedicated to the first Patriot victory of the American Revolution remains flooded and indefinitely closed two weeks after Hurricane Florence made landfall, according to the National Park Service.

Moores Creek National Battlefield in North Carolina was under 10 feet of water at the height of the storm and “much of the park remains flooded,” said a National Park Service update released Thursday.

Among photos posted by the park service on Facebook is one showing the battlefield’s Grady Monument standing in 8 to 10 feet of water. The monument honors John Grady, “the first North Carolina Patriot to give his life in defense of liberty,” says the park service.

Flooding around the battlefield in Pender County is receding but remained eight feet above normal Thursday, officials said in the Thursday update.

A crew was to began work Friday clearing away limbs and debris, but a full appraisal of the damage and a plan to stabilize the site won’t be done until all the waters have receded, officials said.

“A reopening schedule is not available at this time,” officials said in the Thursday update.

The National Park Service, which manages the 88-acre battlefield, posted additional photos Friday of NC 210 — the main road into the park — washed out in multiple spots. A schedule to repair the highway has not been set by the state, park officials said in a Facebook post.

Hurricane Florence made landfall on Sept. 14 and produced as much as 35 inches of rain in some coastal communities, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As the storm moved westward, rivers, streams and creeks flooded, and those waters created havoc as they drained into coastal areas, the Charlotte Observer reported earlier this month.

The Battle of Moores Creek Bridge took place on Feb. 27, 1776, with Patriots doing battle against Loyalists “wielding broadswords,” according to the National Park Service.

“Stunned, outgunned and leaderless, the Loyalists surrendered, retreating in confusion,” according to the National Park Service website. “This dramatic victory ended British authority in the colony and greatly influenced North Carolina to be the first colony to vote for independence.”

The park is home to multiple monuments, including the Patriot Monument, the Loyalist Monument, the Moore Monument and the Women’s Monument, says National Park Planner.

Mark Price: 704-358-5245, @markprice_obs