Firing on Fort Sumter: "The Opening Ball"

Subtitle

Ball Attire and Etiquette

 

    We would be delighted if all guests attended in dress appropriate to the middle of the nineteenth century, but recognize that not everyone is a reenactor and owns period clothing. Please dress in your modern "Sunday Best" if you do not plan to come in military uniform or Victorian civilian dress.  A Ball was a fancy occasion, and guests wore the best they owned.  Our ladies will be wearing silk ball gowns, very easy to soil and difficult to clean; we ask that all those who plan to dance bring a pair of cotton gloves to keep perspiration and dirt off the finery.  There will be a limited number of gloves available for those who have forgotten this advice.  Please feel free to ask the guests attired in period clothing about their dress; many of them are justifiably proud of clothing they have made themselves.  We ask that guests leave alcohol, tobacco, coarse language, weapons, spurs and mud-spattered boots at home.  (Notice that there are at least three men wearing swords in the above painting, which would not have happened at any 1860s Ball.)  In the interest of capturing a nineteenth century atmosphere and out of courtesy to our band and dancers, please turn cell phones and pagers off in the building.

Our band will be playing some of the same music that our ancestors enjoyed.  Guests will have the opportunity to learn period dances which were popular in 1861.  The dance steps are not difficult, and can be picked up in a few minutes of instruction from our experienced dancers.  Our reenactors and dance masters will be happy to help you learn some of the intricacies of Victorian dance etiquette, which add immeasurably to your enjoyment.