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Crossing commemoration coming Feb. 20-22 at Prizery / January 16, 2014

The Crossing of the Dan, a nearly forgotten episode of the American Revolution that occurred at South Boston, Virginia, has just received recognition by the National Society Sons of the American Revolution as a major historic event.

The unanimous decision came at a national leadership conference in September in Louisville, Ky., during a meeting of the Historic Sites, Celebrations, and Reenactments Committee. Conference participants from across the nation also viewed the newly released documentary sponsored by a grant received by Halifax County Historical Society and produced for the Society by David Hutcheson of Virginia Multimedia.

According to Dr. Phil Williams, immediate past president of the Virginia Society SAR, “Elevating the Crossing to national historic status will add a new dimension of awareness to the story of the Revolution and the critically important role of saving General Nathanael Greene’s Army during the Southern campaign of 1781 and how that led to the victory at Yorktown.”

Local residents and those in surrounding areas played a major role in Greene’s strategic retreat and subsequent actions against British forces under General Cornwallis.

The annual commemoration held in South Boston during February each year is marked with a number of activities, including a reenactment plus a wreath laying ceremony at the site of the Crossing.

South Boston and the county will see a marked increase in participation by SAR members across the nation, as well as members of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and Children of the Revolution (CAR).

According to Society President Barbara Bass, “This is great news and the Society wishes to thanks residents of the county for their continued support over the years.

Special thanks go to cosponsors of the events—Berryman Green Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, Town of South Boston, Halifax County Middle School, and Dan River Chapter SAR.

The Halifax County Historical Society has two permanent exhibits— one located on the third floor in The Prizery (downtown South Boston) and a riverside exhibit at the site of The Crossing.

Berryman Green Chapter, NSDAR, Dan River Chapter Virginia Society, SAR, Halifax County Historical Society, Town of South Boston and Halifax County Middle School are co-hosting the 233rd Anniversary Commemoration of the Crossing of the Dan during the American Revolution.

Events are planned for Thursday, Feb. 20 and Saturday, Feb. 22, at The Prizery

The “Retreat to the Dan” began in January 1781, following an American victory at Cowpens in South Carolina and became a “Race to the Dan” across North Carolina and into Virginia. The race was won by General Nathanael Greene with his “Crossing of the Dan” on Feb. 14 at Irvin’s and Boyd’s ferries on the Dan River. This tactical retreat saved the American Southern Army and was one of the turning points in the war. The historical significance of the event places the Dan River crossing on a unique list of landmark sites of the American Revolution, and the National Society, Sons of the American Revolution has elevated the event to national prominence.

On Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7 p. m., in the Chastain Theatre, the sixth-grade Crossing Players, Singers, and Musicians from Halifax County Middle School will present the story through verse and song for the community. The evening’s activities will include recognition of the DAR essay contest winners.

On Friday, Feb. 21, the program will be repeated for all sixth-grade students. Travis Bowman, portraying Hercules of the Revolution, will address the students.

On Saturday, Feb. 22 at 10 a. m., the SAR and DAR will host the annual Crossing of the Dan Commemoration program in the Chastain Theatre.

It will include greetings and the presentation of wreaths by SAR, DAR, and local officials, recognition of the sixth=grade students’ essay contest winner, and the keynote address delivered by Patrick Henry Jolly.

Following the morning program, guests are invited to visit the outdoor exhibit at the Boyd’s Ferry site on the Dan River. A Brunswick stew lunch will be available at the river for a cost of $5.

Reservations for lunch are not needed.

A re-enactment of the Crossing of the Dan by British and Colonial troops will culminate the day’s activities. A replica of a ferry boat will transports troops across the river as muskets and cannons fire.

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