Crossing

Members of the Virginia Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard lead the processional from The Prizery to Constitution Square for the wreath-laying ceremony during the 239th commemoration of The Crossing of the Dan.

Re-enactors, historians and the like are gearing up for the 240th anniversary commemoration of the Crossing of the Dan in Virginia during the American Revolution and invite the public to attend and participate virtually.

The event is being broadcasted from the South Boston-Halifax County Museum of Fine Arts, the new home of the Crossing of the Dan exhibit, and will be available for viewing on Zoom.

Signing in will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the Halifax County Historical Society playing a Crossing of the Dan video at 9:35 a.m.

Berryman Green Chapter, Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution, Dan River Chapter, Virginia Society, Sons of the American Revolution, Halifax County Historical Society, town of South Boston, town of Halifax, the South Boston-Halifax County Museum of Fine Arts and History and Halifax County Middle School are co-hosting the event.

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. Because of its historical significance the National Society Sons of the American Revolution has now recognized the Crossing of the Dan as a nationally sanctioned event.

Beginning at 10 a. m. Saturday, the SAR and DAR will host the annual Crossing of the Dan commemoration broadcasting on Zoom.

The program will include a welcome from Gary Lee Hall, president of Dan River Chapter VASSAR and invocation by Jeff Myers, secretary of the Dan River Chapter VASSAR.

A sixth grade student at Halifax County Middle School has recorded the national anthem to be played.

Following the posting of the colors, Paul Smith, SBHC Museum president, will lead a ribbon cutting for the Crossing of the Dan exhibit.

County administrator Scott Simpson and South Boston town manager Tom Raab are slated to give welcomes and greetings followed by a presentation by Halifax town mayor Dexter Gilliam on “General Greene’s Refuse & Resupply at ‘Camp Halifax Court House’ North of the Banister River.”

Historian and author Mike Cecere will be the keynote speaker.

His presentation is titled, “I see nothing to prevent their [in reference to General Lord Cornwallis and the British troops] future progress.”

Cecere’s address is derived from a quote from General Nathanael Greene to Governor Thomas Jefferson written on Feb. 15, 1781, just a day after the American army crossed the Dan River. He of course, is talking about General Cornwallis’s British army that is in pursuit of him.

During the talk, Cecere plans to discuss the situation in the winter of 1781 in both the Carolinas, as well as, in Virginia. Specifically, that means he will be addressing Benedict Arnold’s invasion of Virginia in January, the Battle of Cowpens and Daniel Morgan’s deliberate withdrawal, the Race to the Dan, the situation in Virginia in February, and reinforcements for General Nathanael Greene.

A wreath laying ceremony will be held following his presentation.

Following the event, the public is invited to the South Boston – Halifax County Museum of Fine Arts and History from noon until 3 p.m. with masks and social distancing required.