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Slate of events mark historic river crossing

The historic Crossing of the Dan will be commemorated this week with special programs scheduled Thursday, Friday and Saturday at The Prizery in South Boston.

Co-hosted by the Berryman Green Chapter, NSDAR, Dan River Chapter Virginia Society, SAR, Halifax County Historical Society, the Town of South Boston and Halifax County Middle School, the 232nd Anniversary Commemoration of the Crossing of the Dan during the American Revolution is open to the public.

Free public events are planned for Thursday night and Saturday morning at The Prizery, local community arts center, located at 700 Bruce St., South Boston. 

The “Retreat to the Dan” began in January 1781, following an American victory at Cowpens in South Carolina and became a “Race to the Dan” across North Carolina and into Virginia. 

The race was won by General Nathanael Greene with his “Crossing of the Dan” on Feb. 14 at Irvin’s and Boyd’s ferries on the Dan River.  This tactical retreat saved the American Southern Army and was one of the turning points in the war.

The historical significance of the event places the Dan River crossing on a unique list of landmark sites of the American Revolution.

On Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Chastain Theatre, the sixth-grade Crossing players, singers and musicians from Halifax County Middle School will present the story through verse and song for the community.

The evening’s activities will include recognition of the DAR essay contest winners. 

On Friday the program will be repeated for all sixth-grade students. 

On Saturday at 10 a.m. the SAR and DAR will host the annual Crossing of the Dan Commemoration program in the Chastain Theatre.

It will include greetings and the presentation of wreaths by SAR, DAR and local officials, recognition of the sixth-grade essay contest winner and a presentation by Travis Bowman, who will portray Peter Francisco, who has come to be known as Hercules of the Revolution. 

Following the morning program, guests are invited to visit the outdoor exhibit at the Boyd’s Ferry site on the Dan River.  

A Brunswick stew lunch will be available at the river for a cost of $5.

A dramatic re-enactment of the Crossing of the Dan by British and Colonial troops will culminate the day’s activities. A replica of a ferryboat will transports troops across the river as muskets and cannons fire.

For more information, visit or contact Anne Raab at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Bernard Baker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .