Crossing of the Dan

Berryman Green Chapter, Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution, Dan River Chapter Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution and Halifax County Historical Society are sponsoring an educational assembly program at Halifax County Middle School on Monday in the gym featuring keynote speaker Patrick Henry Jolly.

Berryman Green Chapter, Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution, Dan River Chapter Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution and Halifax County Historical Society are sponsoring an educational assembly program at Halifax County Middle School on Monday in the gym.

All sixth grade students will attend the program which will focus on the role Halifax County played in the Crossing of the Dan, a nearly forgotten episode of the American Revolution that occurred at South Boston on Feb. 14, 1781.

Following an American victory at the Battle of Cowpens in South Carolina in January 1781, General Nathanael Greene’s southern army outran British forces under Lord Cornwallis as both armies raced northward across the Carolinas. In what became known as the Race to the Dan, a few weeks later, on Feb. 14, 1781, became “The Crossing” when Greene’s army crossed the Dan River to safety near South Boston.

The Crossing of the Dan became a turning point in the American Revolution, precipitating events that led to the British surrender at Yorktown.

The keynote speaker will be Patrick Henry Jolly who is a fifth great grandson of the American patriot Patrick Henry. Often referred to as the Voice of the American Revolution, Patrick Henry is best remembered for his “Give me liberty or give me death!” speech. The title of Patrick Jolly’s address will be “Not to the Strong Alone.”

North Carolina historian Gary Lee Hall will present a brief history on the evolution of the American flag, beginning with the 13-star Betsy Ross flag, which is symbolic of the American Revolution and the thirteen original colonies, and concluding with today’s 50-star flag. All sixth graders will be presented a copy of The Flag Code donated by Berryman Green Chapter, NSDAR.

Also participating in the program will be the Halifax County High School JROTC commanded by First Sergeant Gregory Scott. The cadets will demonstrate the ceremonial folding of the flag to honor deceased veterans.

Halifax County Middle School Principal Dawn Miller is encouraging all sixth grade students to participate in an essay-writing contest focusing on the Crossing of the Dan. Students will have viewed in their classrooms the video presentation titled “The Crossing of the Dan—the Best Kept Secret of the Revolutionary War.”

The 20-minute production is based on the book “The Race to the Dan” written by Virginia historian Larry Aaron and produced by Virginia Multimedia in 2014.

Winners of the writing contest will be recognized during the 239th Anniversary Commemoration of the Crossing of the Dan on Feb. 15 at The Prizery, 700 Bruce Street, South Boston.

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 and the town of South Boston are hosting the 239th Anniversary Commemoration of the Crossing of the Dan in historic downtown South Boston on Saturday Feb. 15 at The Prizery.

Saturday’s program will feature speakers, a musical presentation, wreath laying ceremony, an encampment on the Dan River and a re-enactment of The Crossing, weather permitting.