February 10, 1999
It was a race to the Dan destined to change American history, a pivotal sprint into Halifax County by Gen. Nathanael Greene's exhausted colonial troops outsmarting the pursuing British and leaving them stranded on the opposite banks of a winter-filled Dan River near present day South Boston.
For too long, however, the crossing's importance was little known or recognized.
The Berryman Green Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is giving visual impact as well as written history to present and future generations with the dedication of The Retreat to the Dan Memorial.
The ceremony was conducted at 2 p.m. Saturday, February 13, 1999 at the Memorial on Broad Street overlooking the Dan River crossing.
On Saturday, the DAR also honored retired South Boston newspaperman Carroll Headspeth for his role in documenting the historical crossing here in The Retreat To The Dan, a publication by Headspeth and the late Spurgeon Compton.
The DAR program also featured The Fife and Drum Corps from Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, Lt. Col. Bill Lindley and Dennis Carter, all in patriotic British uniforms.
South Boston Mayor Glen Abernathy, Frances Page Loftis, regent Berryman Green Chapter DAR, and Memorial Committee chairman Betty Willis and Barbara Johnson spoke at the event.
The short program at the Memorial was followed by a presentation by Nathanael Greene scholar Dr. Dennis Conrad at the South Boston-Halifax County Museum of Fine Arts and History.
Dr. Conrad is the president of the Rhode Island Historical Society, Nathanael Greene's home state, and is a noted authority on General Greene and the Southern Campaign, including the Race to the Dan.
Dr. Conrad wrote his doctoral dissertation on Greene and the Southern Campaign while at Duke University. He is now the editor of the ongoing series of publications entitled the Papers of General Nathanael Greene being published by the UNC Press. Volume 7 of an anticipated 13 volumes deals with the 29 December 1780-29 March 1781.
Dr. Conrad was also slated to speak during a luncheon meeting of the Sons of the American Revolution at the Courthouse Cafe in Halifax on Saturday.
Today many historians consider the Southern battles the turning point in the young nation's fight for independence, and Greene's crossing of the Dan a pivotal event in the Campaign of the South which ultimately lead to British defeat at Yorktown.
Please direct your
comments, suggestions and inquiries to Halifax Web WorX.
Last updated: June 23, 2004. All rights reserved.