Dear Colonel Scott:
Once again, we are indebted to your family for a delightful evening of
fellowship and fun! Your gracious hospitality has blessed our family in
so many ways. Saturday evening’s Civil War Ball will remain forever in
our memory as a collection of bright images during a particularly
challenging time. May God bless you richly as you continue to serve
With grateful hearts and fondest regards,
~~The Fox Family
Dearest Colonel And Lady Scott,
What a glorious journey through the Shenandoah in music and dance! I
think I speak well for many in saying your talent as a dancing master is
one of the 1st Virginia's best kept secrets. At least it was
until now. Every caper on the card possessed its own character and
style and yet everyone easily mastered them.
If I might share a personal note, I was heartened to see a newcomer
couple who accepted my invitation to partake of the joy of dance I have
found through We Make History. I had not expected it... but I was
amazed, heartened, and humbled to see it.
HUZZAH and THANK YOU for all the effort you put forth into securing the
many victories in life we are all enjoying.
I continue to pray for everyone in the We Make History family!
Your Humble Servant And Friend,
1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry
Dear Lord Scott,
We all had a grand time at the ball! We loved the lively upbeat dances
and liked how you did the calling! For the balls we have been to, it’s
the best calling yet!
Dear Lord Scott,
We (my sister, my dad, and I) all enjoyed ourselves IMMENSELY!!! Again,
thank you so much for all that you and your beautiful family do. These
balls are such a blessing to us. Can't wait 'til the next one!!!
I take great pleasure in telling you what a wonderful time I had at the
2009 Civil War Ball. It was a magnificent occasion and I was happy to
be in the company of several other fine Union men . . . as well as
several more Confederate gentlemen such as yourself. All hostilities
were left at the door and all discourse for the evening was more than
civil. I once again only regret that Virginia did not have more
counties to be represented by their beautiful belles for the evening.
May God bless you and your family on your trip to the Shenandoah Valley,
as well as the troops you take with you..
Belles In The Night
Take hands as we journey through Virginia's Shenandoah Valley at
We Make History's
Civil War Ball.
Adapted from the journal of Pvt. Christopher of
1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry
"The enemy has arrived!" a lady jests at the door, noticing the gray
uniformed figure bowing to them as he enters.
He shyly greets her and a few guests before another lady in a
green-and-gold gown approaches him.
"I came here because of you."
The young private stands in place, shocked and amazed. He knows her from
a previous dance back home, when she spotted his 18th Century dress
amongst the 21st Century attire and wondered about his place in history.
The private extended an offer for her and her husband to join him one
century later. Now they are here: a Belle and her Union officer.
Gratitude washes over the private at seeing someone inspired, at last,
to take the offer others passed up.
The eager private draws his own inspiration from the beauty of the satin
and floral hoopskirts, the uniformed soldiers and the civilian gentlemen
in tailcoats. Something wonderful shall happen here this evening.
A seasoned Colonel, the host and dancing master, greets all and invites
them to step back through the years... 50... 100... 145 years... to
1864, the Shenandoah Valley and to the time of celebration and gentility
Virginians once knew amid the horrors of war and bloodshed. Tonight, the
commander declares, "there shall be a truce."
Now, all are one battalion on the ballroom floor, taking hands of the
Belles and marching off to begin the campaign of glorious diversion
accompanied by period music while displaying Stonewall Jackson's famous
flanking move along the road to the front.
The gathered form up for the "Frederick County Mixer," where the
gentlemen and their Belles form a circle and take turns stepping in and
out. The gentlemen step into the circle, turn to the ladies next to
their partner, do-si-do, swing, and promenade them forward, time enough
to exchange a few words or encouraging glances. All of it begins,
however, with a touch of Virginia's colonial heritage.
"We always start with honors," the host reminds the assembly. Bows and
curtsies are mandatory. A time will come for rebel yells and union
huzzahs, but a dance shall never ever begin without a genteel courtly
gesture. If one were not to give honors to a lady, the Colonel
recollects, she would surely feel slighted. So might a gentlemen if
observing the lack of manners.
"There could be a duel."
"Practice your honors," the young private whispers to anyone in earshot,
grinning at a sentiment he holds dear.
"Christopher's pistol is loaded," the host observes.
"It is?" the private responds.
The journey through time and dance takes the Belles and the Beaus to
another fond landmark of Virginia history: "A Visit To
If one looks in the right spot, one might see General George
Washington's initials carved in the stone. On this night, an observer
shall see a parade of ladies and gentlemen passing through the arches of
hands made by the head couple of a set between sashays and swings and
laughter all around.
After some refreshments and conversation, a special group of young
Belles eagerly await their moment of presentation, when the Colonel
shall introduce them and a gentleman of the
1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry
shall escort them before the assembly to a designated spot for a
daguerreotype. The host explains the ceremony and the order of motions
for stepping forward, receiving a floral honor and letting the gentlemen
lead them on.
The Private bows to a Belle at his turn and leads her in a stately
fashion: eyes forward, steps modest.
"You can let go here," the hostess injects as he approaches the arbor
for the picture.
Abandon a lady before the end of her journey? The soldier
puzzles, but the hostess gives reassurance all is proper and no slight
will be marked against him as the photo will be of the lady sans
escort. As for the ladies, all are told of their high character and
expectations so that those traits may flourish for many years to come.
They are indeed capable of standing on their own after an escort through
the early years of their lives.
Moments later, the young private hears a jingle to his side. Another
familiar Belle greets him -- a Belle with bells, jingling all around the
hoops of her lavish forest green skirt. She does not delay in asking for
a dance. He immediately accepts, offering to lead her through "Luray
They are not partners for long, as the dance begins in sets of circles
before forming into stars where gentlemen pull new partners from across
the clump of couples and promenade them about like the twists of the
cave. New and bigger circles form, new partners pull through. The
gentlemen tread lightly as the right-hand stars bunch up hoops and leave
little room to walk save for a tiptoe around. By the end, all escape,
mixed up but safe.
"Ladies and Gentlemen!" the Colonel calls. "Find your partner for the
Old Virginia Reel!"
The soldier sprints across the room to find his partner. "I would not
want to dance this with anyone else," he says with a bow to his chosen
one, the Belle dressed in a black gown. She is not in mourning but in
fashion, years ahead of her time, when the oracles of design shall
liberate the color of darkness from funerals.
The host explains the origins of the reel from England, where its’
forerunner was known as "Sir Roger de Coverley."
"They danced it in A Christmas Carol," the private notes to his
partner. Now, with her and the young private heading a set, she learns.
Both lines forward and back! Do it Again! Top man, bottom lady, give
honors! Top lady, bottom man, give honors! Top man, bottom lady, right
hand turn! Top lady, bottom man, right hand turn! Top man, bottom lady,
left hand turn! Top lady, bottom man, left hand turn! Top man, bottom
lady, two hand turn! Top lady, bottom man, two hand turn! Top man,
bottom lady, do-si-do! Top man, bottom lady, do-si-do! Top couple sashay
down and back! Now, reel that set!
Not everyone grasps the concept right away -- swinging a partner, then
swinging the opposite gender, then swinging the partner again and
working down the opposite gender's line. Errant swings arise, but the
dancers correct themselves. In the young soldier's set, the dancers move
faster than the caller, preferring to move at their own faster pace with
the dance now familiar to anyone with doubts. The players accelerate the
pace, but the Belles and Beaus keep up without faltering until a
dramatic finale of swinging leaves the dancers triumphantly exhausted.
"For how many people," the Colonel asks, "was this your first Virginia
The stylish lady in black raises her hand, still catching her breath.
The hosts award prizes, and by that time, the assembled are ready for
the beloved Pineapple Dance.
And still, they have enough within them for "Jackson's Pursuit," where
the ladies and gentlemen chase each other about before sashaying up and
down the set and casting off to the bottom. The young private takes the
hands of the Belle with bells, prancing with caution as he notices her
the weight of her dress. No bell shall toll for her in a hoopskirt
emergency. The guests proceed to the
Of New Market",
where the Belles and Beaus both practice their charge to victory down
the lines of dancers, free hands held up like a rifle bayonet as they
honor the heroic cadets of Virginia Military Institute. With Sigel's men
forced out of the Shenandoah, the guests proceed on to "The
The private and his young dancing companion find themselves on the wrong
side of the road at times, swinging by left hands when right is called,
or the other way around. The journey has wearied them, but they dance
on, knowing all is well in the end.
The band plays one final waltz, and the young soldier saunters over to
the lady in black once more. Knowing her affinity for fancy dance, he
attempts a progressive step but finds she is unsure of how to proceed.
"We will keep it simple," he says as they settle into a two-step and
quietly proceed to a last stop... Texas.
The Battle Of Payson