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Crossing of the Dan exhibit headed to museum collection / July 02, 2020

Halifax County’s Crossing of the Dan exhibit at The Prizery is making the move to the Halifax County Museum of Fine Arts and History where it will be placed on permanent display.

The exhibit, which depicts Gen. Nathanael Greene conferring with Lt. Col. Edward Carrington on the tactical maneuver to lure British forces to the Dan River in futile pursuit of the American army, will become the centerpiece of the museum’s historical collection.

The Crossing of the Dan is also commemorated with a secondary exhibit on the banks of the river nearby where Greene’s army crossed over and eluded British pursuit. The strategic retreat weakened the redcoat army and set the stage for Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown later that year, in the fall of 1781.

The Halifax County Historical Society has joined with the museum to transfer the Crossing of the Dan exhibit, where it will benefit from increased exposure and visitor access. The Society is assisting financially in the move from its current location at The Prizery and “is gratified to join with the Museum in properly honoring the original funders and creators of this important piece of public history,” wrote Historical Society President Barbara Bass in announcing the transfer this week.

“Work will begin immediately on making the exhibit the centerpiece of the Museum’s permanent collection, with a goal of being in place for the upcoming 240th anniversary of the Crossing of the Dan,” Bass noted.

The Halifax County Historical Society has brought national attention to the Crossing of the Dan, which, though not a battle, has been recognized as crucial to American victory. Greene’s maneuver drew British forces away from their source of supplies and exhausted the redcoats in the race at the Dan, where they were unable to keep up with American forces that had already crossed over in Halifax County. The wily stratagem was made possible through local intelligence provided by Carrington, a county citizen.

In February of every year the Society co-sponsors a commemoration of this critical moment in the Revolution. The Crossing of the Dan celebration has been held since the early-2000s, when a local committee was formed to plan an exhibit to commemorate the event.

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