The public is invited to celebrate the 242nd Commemoration of the Crossing of the Dan program this week.
The commemoration this year will be celebrated in three different events from Thursday to Saturday.
Similar to last year, an event is planned in the town of Halifax on Friday to commemorate events on the Banister River.
Once the Dan River near present-day South Boston was crossed on Feb. 14, 1781, General Nathanael Greene and the Southern Army proceeded northward to the Banister River. Crossing there, they marched to Halifax County Courthouse, north of the Banister River. Camping there for a period of time, Greene corresponded with other American officers including Colonel Thaddeus Kosciusko and Colonel Henry “Light Horse Horse Harry” Lee, asking for supplies and reinforcements.
This year’s events will get underway on Thursday at the South Boston-Halifax County Museum of Fine Arts and History in South Boston at 7 p.m. when Cody Youngblood, curator of Red Hill-Patrick Henry’s Home presents a historical program entitled “Fitting An Army.”
In addition to working as the curator at Patrick Henry’s Red Hill, Youngblood is an architectural historian who holds a B. A. in Historic Preservation and Museum Studies from the University of Mary Washington and an M. A. in the Conservation of Historic Buildings from the University of York. He has formerly served as the Museum Director of George C. Marshall’s Dodona Manor and the Collections Manager at Oatlands Historic House & Gardens in Leesburg.
At Red Hill, Youngblood stewards the largest collection of Patrick Henry artifacts in the world and oversees the preservation of the site’s historic built environment.
Youngblood’s presentation will be held in the museum located at 1540 Wilborn Ave. in South Boston.
On Friday from 1 to 4 p.m., the Crossing celebration will continue with a small reenactment camp and brief portrayal of soldiers present at the 1781 Banister Encampment. The “Banister Encampment” will take place at Kings Bridge Landing located at 1041 Bethel Road in Halifax.
At 5 p.m. the Virginia and North Carolina 250th Commemoration Committee will present a program on plans for the upcoming 250th anniversary of the Revolutionary War.
The program will be presented in the historic courtroom of Halifax County Courthouse located at 8 Main Street in Halifax.
At 6:30 p.m. on Friday, there will be a dedication ceremony for two Revolutionary War soldiers whose names are added to the Halifax County War Memorial. The event will take place at the Halifax County War Memorial located on Main Street at the intersection of Mountain Road and Highway 501 directly beside Halifax County Courthouse.
The Virginia Society, Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard will be on hand for the musket firing salute.
Saturday’s event will begin at 10 a.m. at The Prizery located at 700 Bruce St. in South Boston featuring award-winning multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and master performance artist David Russell who will present “Music Of The Revolutionary War Period” commemorating the 1781 Crossing of the Dan.
During this Sons of the American Revolution National Event, Russell will present the true history of the famous Race to the Dan River made and won by Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene over British General Lord Cornwallis by telling the story in a “you are there in real time” musical and narration performance.
He will be accompanied by Roland Terry of the legendary 8th generation Terry musical family of North Carolina.
Born to a musical family, Russell began the study of classical guitar with a Segovia Master at age 6 and soon broadened his musical interests to include many different styles of acoustic guitar as well as other instruments.
Over the last 38 years, he has performed throughout the U.S. and Canada. Aside from his number one instrument of guitar, he is a multi-instrumentalist performing on mandolin, octave mandolin/bouzouki, banjo and Dobro.
Parallel with his work career as a touring contemporary music performer and recording session artist, Russell holds several shows a year presenting American historical music.
He emphasizes music that was performed to small audiences around a campfire or the intimacy of a home parlor when there were no recordings and music was carried in memory by oral tradition of live performance. He has a deep interest in bringing colonial history alive through period music and songs.
During his musical career, Russell has performed with Doc and Merle Watson, Norman and Nancy Blake, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, John Hartford, Vassar Clements, Steve Martin, Jimmy Buffett, Gamble Rogers and Steve Goodman.
Terry will perform on a 200-year-old violin of his famed uncle Edsel Terry.
He has performed with the Terry Brothers for the last 30 years, as the Doc Branch Band, and shares Russell’s interest in historical and traditional music from the many times their paths have crossed on the performance trail at bluegrass and traditional music shows.
They each are direct descendants of Revolutionary War veterans in the Southern Campaign and will perform period music and narrative in dramatic form with audience participation.
Wearing period clothing, the musicians will perform selections on traditional acoustic guitar, violin, mandolin and mandocello.
The Crossing of the Dan by Nathanael Greene, which left General Lord Cornwallis stranded with starving troops on the southern bank of the Dan River, is now recognized by historians as a major turning point of the Revolutionary War.
Subsequently Britain lost the Southern Campaign as the English troops were outfought and out maneuvered by the rest of the Colonies with the Surrender at Yorktown- the Birth of our Nation.
Dan River Chapter, Virginia Society, Sons of the American Revolution (VASSAR), Berryman Green Chapter, Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution (VADAR), Halifax County Historical Society, South Boston-Halifax County Museum of Fine Arts and History and the towns of South Boston and Halifax are hosting the commemoration.
Following the musical presentation Saturday morning, the program will continue at Boyd’s Ferry with a wreath laying ceremony and other events, weather permitting.
The SAR color guard as well as the Halifax County Junior ROTC will be on hand for the presentation of the colors and the retiring of the colors.
The Dan River Chapter Virginia Society, Sons of the American Revolution invites the public to join them Thursday-Saturday in celebrating the commemoration of the 242nd anniversary of the Crossing of the Dan and the commemoration of General Greene’s Banister River events in Halifax.
The Crossing Event is conducted in cooperation with the Berryman Green Chapter, Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution, Halifax County Historical Society, South Boston-Halifax County Museum of Fine Arts and History, and the towns of South Boston and Halifax.