I had read of this event for many years, mostly as a result of the book “The Retreat to the Dan,” written in 1974 by local historians and authors, Carroll Headspeth and Spurgeon Compton. 

I toured The Prizery as it was being renovated in 2004, and suggested that a display of some type be positioned around the upstairs window overlooking the Boyd’s Ferry site, to inform visitors about what happened here.

I was asked to see it I could make that happen, and I agreed to try if I could find community support. A group of local citizens soon began meeting with me to develop what became the exhibit.

We made a decision to only develop an exhibit if it could be professionally done using such professional designers and fabricators, and if we could raise the needed funds. We were able to do that after months and months of research and fundraising.

Upon its completion, the local historical society, who had agreed to act as our fiscal agent, was asked to take over ownership and maintenance of the exhibit, which the society did. 

Some of the funds remaining from the exhibit project later added an additional display down by the river.

During the exhibit’s development, we began to realize that to tell the story, we had to add information about the entire Southern Campaign, including the following Battle of Guilford Courthouse in March and Yorktown in October.

In 2006 I realized that we were approaching the 225th anniversary of what happened here and we paused in our exhibit work long enough to sponsor a commemoration event.

That event, held on the weekend nearest Feb. 14, has continued each year jointly hosted by the SAR, DAR, historical society and the town of South Boston. In addition we have a program for the sixth grade each year, insuring that all county students learn about the event in our history.

Larry Aaron of Danville wrote a book about the event and the exhibit, named “The Retreat to the Dan.” 

Powell is a historian, author and SAR past president.