Crossing of the Dan River Event Coverage & AAR
- Dear List,
Just wanted to share this link to a newspaper account of this weekend's Crossing of the Dan River event that was held in snowy South Boston, VA.
Elmer Woodard of the British Marines deserves a lot of credit and thanks for organizing this event. Elmer, the boat is always a big hit, but the snow was fantastic! Be sure to order more next year.
For those not familiar with this event, it commemorates Gen. Greene's retreat to the Dan River in Feb. 1781. The folks in South Boston are immensely proud of the fact that one of the two crossing points (Boyd's Ferry) is right in their town and they hold a neat commemoration every year to mark the anniversary of the Crossing of the Dan ( also known as the Race to the Dan).
The 7th VA held an encampment along the banks of the river three years ago, but last year Elmer and the British Marines ( who live in the area ) took the reigns and organized a small battle complete with batteaux. It was sunny and 70 degrees last year.
This year, the river was higher, the temperatures much lower, and it snowed big fat flakes, so it was awesome!
The Americans were represented by the 7th VA and 2nd NC ( which numbered over 30 with three cannon ) while the British Marines turned out 12 ( who looked like double that in their red coats.
Two of the three cannon remained on the north side of the river so the numbers on the south side were closer to 18 American infantry and 5 with the howitzer vs. 12 Marines. Out battle space was restricted to a very wet power company road that was soaked and muddy. Last year we were able to fight more in the woods, but the ground was so wet we couldn't get up to that point and had to fight a shorter battle.
The article mentioned above describes what the event was like to a degree. Everyone got to experience the frustration of firing their muskets in horrible conditions ( a lot of clicks ) standing in mud and cold puddles over their ankles. One of the more amazing sites / accomplishments was hauling the 2nd NC's howitzer across the river (twice). Hopefully Patrick O' Kelly or Charles Myers will provide more insight on that, but as someone who assisted in loading it on the boat the last time, I was very impressed by everyone's efforts.
Given that we received both good print and television press coverage and most of the participants had big smiles on their faces at the end, (although some might have been pained grimaces from the cold) I think the event was a big success (despite all the mud on my gear and in my car).
So my thanks goes out to all of the hardy participants who slept on the floor of the Fire Station on Friday night and braved the cold, wet, muddy day on Saturday to bring much deserved attention to this historical event of 232 years ago.
All the Best,
Mike Cecere 7th VA
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