Civil War Ball At Gadsby’s Tavern Museum

by Lee Hernly, Editor

Enjoy an evening from the 1860s in the historic Gadsby’s Tavern ballroom at the Civil War Ball on Saturday, January 29, 2011, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Get ready for the Civil War Sesquicentennial at this distinctive event, which will include live music, dance instruction, and period desserts. Tickets are $45 per person in advance and $50 at the door. Period attire, either civilian or military, is encouraged.

In preparation for the ball, Civil War-era dance classes will be offered at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays, January 13, 20, and 27. Dance instruction will include the waltz, polka, Virginia reel, and more! Classes are $12 each or $30 for the series.

Advance reservations for both the Ball and dance classes are highly recommended. Please call 703.838.4242 to register or for further information. Online tickets are available under “Shop” at

During the Civil War, the Tavern was a thriving hotel and served as the quarters for Francis Pierpont, governor of the Restored Government of Virginia. Dancing was enjoyed by almost everyone during the Civil War – North and South, rich and poor, young and old. And just as the custom was at the time, everyone at the Ball has a social duty to mingle and ensure everyone else has a pleasant time, as it was considered ill-mannered to dance with one person all evening.

As America began as a nation during the late 18th century and emerged in the 19th century, Gadsby’s Tavern was the center of social and political life in Alexandria as well as the new Federal City of Washington. The tavern served as the premier gathering place for residents – including George Washington – and visitors to eat, drink, learn, and influence history. Tavern keepers John Wise and John Gadsby hosted balls, performances, and meetings, and their accommodations were known as the best by travelers near and far.

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum is located at 134 North Royal Street in the heart of Old Town Alexandria and is owned and operated by the City of Alexandria. For more information, please visit

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