Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for The 2nd Corps ball and review.–Diary of Josiah Marshall Favill.

The 2nd Corps ball and review.–Diary of Josiah Marshall Favill.

February 24, 2014

Diary of a Young Officer–Josiah Marshall Favill (57th New York Infantry)

February 24, 1864. The great ball, reception, and review all came off with the utmost distinction. A special train brought out an immense throng of notables, who in many cases remained over for the review on the 23d and Kilpatrick’s fine cavalry charge. Amongst the distinguished guests were Vice-president Hamlin and his daughter Sarah, a most agreeable young lady; Mrs. Governor Curtin, her daughter, and a bevy of beauties from the state capital. Guests of our headquarters: Mrs. Governor Sprague, radiant in all her glorious beauty, acknowledged to be the handsomest woman in America, and at present the star around which the fashionable world revolves; her husband, Governor Sprague; a large party from the British embassy; Mrs. Chancellor Walworth, of New York; O. A. Brownsen, of Brownsen’s Review; Colonel and Mrs. Carrol; Mrs. Senator Hale and daughters; Senator Wilkinson and party; Mrs. and Judge Miller, of the United States Supreme Court, and hundreds of others, together with every general officer in the army and their staffs. It was a wonderful success without a drawback. The music was furnished by our band and that of the Fourteenth Connecticut, and was delightfully spoken of by all. “Gayly sped the feet and sweetly smiled the lips” of the brave and beautiful and honored of the republic. Swiftly passed the hours of the festal night, and with the matin song of lark and blue bird and the courtesies of parting, the morning light looked in upon a “Banquet Hall deserted.”

Miss Alvord was especially in my charge, but everybody danced with everybody else, and I had the distinguished honor of dancing once with the queenly beauty, Mrs. Sprague, and the superb and beautiful Miss Curtin, who was by the way sought after by every one. Nothing could surpass the kindness of the ladies; they were in no wise exclusive, and the youngest lieutenant received as much consideration as the oldest and most conspicuous general. This surprised us most agreeably and completed the enchantment, which will live forever in the memory of those of us who had the honor to belong to the grand army and participate in its festivities.

The following day the entire Second corps and Kilpatrick’s division of cavalry were reviewed in the presence of a great throng of officers and ladies. There were as many as two hundred ladies mounted in the cavalcade, which followed in the retinue of General Meade, the reviewing officer. The day was superb, and the men looked well, eliciting immense applause. When the Second corps had passed, Kilpatrick, at the head of his splendid command, made a spirited charge across the plain for the diversion of the party, which, of course, pleased the guests the most of anything. In the evening a special train took home the major part of the visitors, and thus the Second corps ball passed among the things that were.

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