Who was Turner anyway?

Who was Turner anyway?

Click on this image to find out who Turner was.

Field Musicians Wanted!

A Turner Bugler, 2004

Click on this image to learn about opportunities as a bugler, fifer or drummer with the Turner Brigade.

The Grand Ball in New York in Honor of Baron Renfrew.


September/October 1860

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, October 17, 1860.


A “Magnificent Affair—The Decorations Costing $10,000.




The ball given by the citizens of New York on the night of the 12th inst., at the Academy of Music, is regarded as the most magnificent affair of the kind that has taken place in this or any other country.  The New York papers of the 13th are filled with the accounts—the Herald leading off with the longest and raciest.

The company had hardly assembled when [t]wo magnificent flower vases, suspended from the proscenium, fell and broke.  The audience had hardly recovered from that surprise when the dancing floor gave way with a great crash, fortunately injuring no one, however.  As the crowd retired, frightened, to various parts of the floor, it gave way beneath them.  This was three times repeated, two persons being precipitated to the stage beneath, but not being injured.  The floor rather sank than fell, the props beneath it being insufficient to sustain the weight of the throng.  The gentlemen of the committee generally, of the sub-committee of the house and decorations particularly, must divide the blame of this contretemps with the carpenters, who should have understood and completed their work much better.

For some moments the greatest confusion ensued; many determined to leave, and a rush was made for the door, but the real nature of the accident being discovered, the company resumed its composure.  The Prince was immediately conducted into the supper room, whither a great number of the ladies and gentlemen followed him.  The remainder either promenaded, took seats in the parquette, or gathered around the pit, about twenty feet square, which showed the extent of the damage.  The promenade and the music diverted the attention of the company, who were kept off the dancing floor as much as possible; the police immediately surrounded the opening with a rope, which they guarded, so that no one should pass; Ullman and Palmer observed and directed; as many carpenters as could be crowded into the hole immediately set to work to put up new supports, and the celebrated Brown, of Grace Church, took off his coat, and with a disregard of appearances unusual, but highly honorable, made himself generally useful.  As far as we could ascertain, those who left in the first fright and confusion, either returned or stopped at the door, and gradually recovering their good humor, the company seemed to remember the proverb, wittily quoted by one of the fairest ladies present,

“A bad beginning has a good ending,”

and that Shakesperian adage retorted by a rival wit and beauty,

“All’s well that ends well.”

And so passed the time during which the repairs were progressing, in conversation, promenading and flirtations, and patiently awaited the time when dancing should begin.

Soon after the breaking down of the floor the Prince retired from the dais, and in company with his suite, Lieutenant General Scott, Peter Cooper, Mayor Wood, and a number of others of the committee, was conducted to the supper room through the side entrance arranged for the purpose.  It was impossible, however, to follow the royal movements, and still more difficult to get at the good things intended for the public delectation.

The following is the bill of fare.  Those in the royal party were printed in gold, upon white satin; those for the common people, in bronze, on the same material:


in honor of


New York, October 12, 1860.


Consomme de Volaille.

Huitres a la Poulette.

Au beurre de Montpellier.
Filets de boeuf a la Betleyne.
Galantines de dindes a la Royale.
Pates de gibiers a la modern.
Cechons de Lait a la Parisienne.
Pains de Lievres Anglais Histories.
Terrines de Nerac aux Truffes.
Jambons de Westphale a la Gendarme.
Langnes de Boeuf a l’Ecarlate.
Mayounaise de Volailles.
Salades de Homards a la Russe.
Gelees au Madere.
&nbsMacedoines de Fruits.p;
Cremes Françaises.
Glace a la Vanille et Citron.
Petits Fours.
Charlotte Russes.
Peches, Poires, Raisins de Serre, &c.
La Reine Victoria et le Prince Albert.
Le Great Eastern.
Le Vase de Flora.
Silver Fountain, &c., &c.


The array of fruit was particularly rich.  America showed what she could do in the grape department, but it must be confessed that certain packages of a small white grape, just arrived from France, beat everything in this line.

It was not without great labor on the part of the gentlemen who had his Royal Highness in charge that they succeeded in getting him to a comfortable location.  The multitude soon after thronged into the room, and it was filled almost to suffocation.

The supper, though unexceptionable in quality, was not all that could be desired, because of the miserable arrangements under which it was served.  A few only could be assisted at one time, and those few by remaining at the tables, rendered it necessary to pass the food over the heads or under the elbows of their neighbors.  Wines, creams and jellies, in this operation, were consequently liberally sprinkled upon elegant dresses, and damage done by the quantity.  The Prince took all in good part, however, and in easy conversation with those around him, the supper found its way to its destination.

A fine band was in attendance here, and supplied the company with some excellent music throughout the evening, the rush continuing with little or no intermission until the small hours of the morning.

The ladies will read the following partial description of the evening toilettes, with interest.  It is taken from the Herald:

The ladies of New York are already celebrated for the taste and costliness of their dress, and the toilettes at the most recherche ball ever attempted in New York, were, therefore, certain to be distinguished by a beauty and splendor only rivalled by the glories of fairyland.  The first effect upon the senses was indeed so dazzling as to render it impossible to separate any distinct or individual effects.  Flowers reposing in folds of fleecy lace, lace rising and falling in rich foam-like waves, jewels paling before the fire of bright eyes, or flashing back radiantly from velvet back grounds; gold and silver glittering in the transparent tarlatane fabrics so thickly embroidered with the same precious substance that they looked like cloth of gold; silver brocade, fair and shining, looking kindly on the stiff and stately moire; flowers, ribbons, jewels, fans, feathers, and the odor of a thousand parterries, all mingling with the lights, the music and the graceful moving throng.  For the benefit of lady readers we endeavored to single out some of the toilettes, not perhaps those that were the most striking, but which were distinguished for their good taste, and may serve as a guide in costuming for the balls of the coming winter.

Full dress was, of course, de riguer.  No high bodies were permitted to the dresses, and this occasioned some slight embarrassment to ladies who had not for a long time been accustomed to this exposure.  The difficulty was, however, generally met by resorting to these elegant little contrivances for excessive delicacy or badly shaped shoulders, lace caps, which, therefore, formed quite a feature in the details of the various costumes.

A very rich dress was of white velvet, ornamented with brilliant bouquets of flowers, embroidered in gold colors, which seemed thrown upon the surface.  Garniture of point lace, jewels, complete set of superb diamonds.

Another was a robe of pale blue moire, with plain corsage, over which was worn a very handsome point lace cape.  The jewels were diamonds and pearls.

A robe of Magenta moire antique was nearly covered with rich lace tunic, overskirt looped up with a bunch of white roses, white lace berthe with boquet of roses for the corsage, and diamond necklace and brooch.  Head dress, roses and lace barbe fastened with pins.

Two sisters wore charming dresses of tulle, the skirts made in three deep doubled puffs, caught up with field flowers and grass.  Head dress, boquet de corsage, and shoulder ornaments to match; necklace and bracelets of pearls.

Another very pretty dress was of the new pale Empress green glace silk, nearly covered with a full skirt of tulle, looped up on one side with moss roses in their green foliage.  The low corsage was ornamented with Grecian folds of tulle, with garniture to match the skirt.  Gold and coral bracelets and necklace.

A dress of white tarlatan, spotted with gold, attracted attention—the low corsage draped with a scarf, fastened on the shoulder and under the arms with gold stars.  Headdress, torsade of pearls and tiny gold stars.

A robe, remarkable for its simple elegance, was of rich, white brocade, and was worn by a bride.  The corsage was draped with the finest and mistiest of lace, and the ornaments were necklace, bracelets and splendid aigrette diamonds.

One of the most distinguished toilets was a robe of brown colored moire antique, the skirt ornamented with ten narrow illusion flounces, simply hemmed, and an upper skirt of doubled illusion, caught up by trailing branches of black and yellow flowers.  Low body, trimmed with Grecian folds, ornamented with bouquets to match the garniture of the skirt.  Headdress, black and gold.

A dress of rich white silk taffeta was trimmed with tabs of illusion, reaching nearly to the bottom of the skirt.  Round the tabs were narrow ruches of white satin ribbon, and round the bottom of the skirt a broad ruche of the same.  The ends of the tabs were finished with bows to match.  Folds of illusion ornamented the waist, and a short pointed sleeve was opened up the center over a full illusion puffed sleeve.

The skirt of a pretty dress of white tuile, consisting of three graduating couillons, caught at frequent intervals with moss roses.  The corsage was very low, and round the sleeve a single tiny puff of tuile.  A broad sash, brocaded in roses, was crossed over and reached nearly to the bottom of the skirt, bouquet de corsage and shoulder knots of roses.  Coral ornaments.

A charming dress of white crape was made with narrow flounces, alternating with bands of violet silk, covered with puffing.  On the upper part of the skirt was a tunic, looped upon the side with a bunch of violets.  The corsage was very low and pointed, the sleeve very short, the bouquet and wreath composed of violets, and the ornaments wholly of pearls.

A very striking dress was of white rep silk, trimmed with black velvet, edged with gold and black guipure lace.  The belt was fastened with an elegant gold buckle, and had long ends attached [to] wide white ribbons, edged with velvet, gold and lace.  The headdress was a handsome torsade of black velvet, twisted with gold and festooned with double strings of gold balls.

One of the most tasteful dresses was of violet glace, nearly covered by a tunic of point appliqué, looped up with bow and ends of white ribbon, dotted with silver; in the center of the bow was a little cluster of white flowers.  A lace scarf was gracefully disposed over the corsage, and fastened under the arms with bow, and ends of ribbon, matching the garniture of the skirt; short full cape, of silk, over lace puif, trimmed with ribbon and flowers; gloves ornamented with lace and flowers; pearl bracelets and pearl headdress completed the toile.

One of the prettiest dresses was a fine white tarletane, with five puffings on the lower part of the skirt, covered with lace vorants.  The upper skirt was of doubled tarletane, over which a lace tunic was looped, with a large bunch of small crimson velvet blossoms, very low pointed corsage draped with puffings and lace to match, short sleeve of lace over a single puffing of tarletane; wreath for the hair and boquets on corsage, and sleeves to match the skirt.

A robe of rich emerald green velvet was made en traine, and the corsage ornamented with costly blonde.  Clasps of diamonds and pearls ornamented the shoulders, and point of the low body, and torsade of green velvet and pearls with diamond pendants, decorated the hair.

One of the costliest dresses was of mo[i]re antique.  Splendid barlecs of real point lace, ornamented the skirt, each finished at the end with a white opera rose.  Upon the back was worn a Marie Antoinette cape of point lace, with boquets of roses in the center of the corsage.  A superb set of diamonds was worn with this dress, and the head dress consisted of diamonds and lace barbe, with white roses set in the folds on each side.

A robe of white, gros des Indes, was very striking, ornamented with black lace barbes, and bunches of mountain dais[i]es.  A wreath of mountain daisies ornamented the hair.

A robe of black velvet trimmed with white lace and worn with superb diamonds was much admired for its elegance and simplicity.

Of rich velvets and moiré antiques, of lace and jewels, of gold and tinsel, of ribbons and flowers, column after column might be written, especially if it were possible to go into the minutiæ, and describe the gloves embroidered with gold, and trimmed with costliest blonde, ribbons and flowers.  Handkerchiefs with tiny center of cambric, and fifty dollars’ worth of cobweb lace, jeweled bouquet holders filled with freshest exotics, and tiny slippers holding delicate feet, encased in the shimmerest of hose.  Fabulous stories are told of the immense sums paid to dressmakers and milliners on this occasion—$150 for the simple making of a dress, the materials of which cost $1,500, $3,000 for the lace flounces and garniture of a single dress; $2,000 for a robe of gold tissue, imported direct from Paris; $500 for a white silk, embroidered with silver, designed to represent the spray of a fountain.  To these many more might be added, and if the exact figure could in every case be ascertained, would without doubt furnish a degree of magnificence and aggregate cost very rarely equaled.

We observe a matronly lady attired in a dress of brilliant white satin from the magasin de modes of Madame Huersted.  It was trimmed with point de appliqué, set off with a white illusion bertha, with diamonds on either shoulder and in front, and a golden cord running in loops around it.   The flounces of application lace and a chatelaine on the right completed the ornamentation of the skirt.  This dress, exclusive of the diamonds which adorned the bertha, cost the sum of $1,000.

One young lady was arrayed in a gossamer like dress of white illusion, with puff skirt, the under skirt being of beautiful white silk, the whole tastefully ornamented with flowers.  The bertha was of the same material as the skirt, a beautiful sash confined the waist, terminating in two broad ribbons of white silk, the ends of which were embroidered with flower patterns.  This dress was valued at about $200.

Another of the fair dancers was attired in a dress of pink silk, with an illusion overskirt, reaching from the waist half way to the ground, and looped up with strings and bows, a la pompadour.  The waist was trimmed with illusion and application lace.

The following attracted much attention.  It was a dress of white silk, the skirt having a series of flounces in pyramids, and looped, with bouquets placed around it at intervals.  The overskirt, which was of white illusion, was looped up with little knots of blue and silver flowers, while a handsome chatelaine was suspended in front.  The bertha, also of white illusion, was trimmed with flowers and silver.

A lavender colored dress of moiré antique was one of the finest of the evening.  Six illusion flounces, arranged in a pyramid, ran around the lower half of the skirt, the point of each loop being set with white roses.  The bertha was a beautiful combination of white illusion and white application lace, adorned with white flowers.

A dress of white illusion with puff skirt, trimmed with loops of white satin, placed between the puffs, and the whole surmounted with pink roses and blades of grass.  The bertha was of white illusion, trimmed with blonde lace, contrasting in a pleasing manner with boquets of pink flowers, placed on either shoulder and in front.  The above dress was much admired.

Another was a dress of white illusion, somewhat similar, with puff skirt made over a white silk underskirt, looped up with pink ribbons.  On one side was suspended a pink and white chatelaine, while a boquet and white feathers decorated the other.  The bertha of puffed illusion was trimmed with blonde lace, looked [sic] up with pink ribbons.  A boquet on either shoulder and in front completed the ornamentation of this portion of the dress.

A rich but plain dress of heavy silk of a dark brown color, was well suited to the style of the wearer.  It was devoid of trimmings and bore no flounces, and was figured with neat flower patterns in pink and white.

There was also a dress of magenta, from the establishment of Madame Huerstel.  It was silk, trimmed with white flowers, the skirt being set off with a graceful series or pyramid of flounces, scolloped at the edge and trimmed with lace.  The bertha of the same material as the skirt, was richly adorned, with pointe a la grille lace.  The dress cost about $300.

The following was one of the finest dresses:  A lavender colored water silk, with two deep Honiton lace flounces, and a rich Honiton lace shawl—one of the handsomest in the room—flowers down the front; a necklace and cross of pearl, and diamond earrings, bracelet and hairpins.

Miss Helene Powers wore an elegant dress of white, puffed with lace, ornamented with bugles, natural flowers and brilliants.

It was impossible, however, to describe a tithe of the beautiful dresses in the room, or even to see them.  The company was wedged as tightly together as it could be, and all thoughts of self or others were swallowed up in an irrepressible desire to see the Prince.  This was gratified at the cost of both comfort and politeness, and completely spoiled the earlier part of the ball.

The Herald serves up its account of the dancing in the same manner that a sensation reporter would prepare an account of an execution of a criminal.  The reader will recognize the style:



Leaving the supper room, the crowd opening respectfully before him, the Prince passed back again to the dais, and, after a moment’s pause, opened the ball formally with Mrs. Governor Morgan, who was most richly and elegantly dressed.  The members of the Prince’s suite filled up the set.  The dance had just begun.  A space is roped off for dancing, and no more space is reserved than is necessary.



The Prince danced the second dance with Miss Mason, and the third with Mrs. Hoyt, the youngest daughter of General Scott.  Mrs. Hoyt is richly dressed in pink silk, with an overdress of lace.  The crowd around during the last dance was so great that the party could hardly stir.


The Latest from the Ball.

SATURDAY, October 13, 2 A. M.

The Prince is again [illegible] to dance.  The rope span has much diminished and the crowd around his royal highness is almost as great as that at the Japanese ball.  The committee allege that there are more than 3,000 people in the room, that outsiders have bribed the police, sixty of whom are on duty under Sergeant Spade, and obtained admittance.  The doorkeepers are under charge of Moss, of Wallack’s.  The committee are now counting the tickets, Superintendent Kennedy watching the operation.  Except this and the crowd there is no excitement, and all is progressing favorably.

The representatives of the press are indebted to Mr. Palmer and Kingslake, of the Academy, for placing at their disposal one of the rooms of the building, where they could attend undisturbed to their duties.



Two of the three boxes have been opened and counted.  The result is, that twelve hundred and two tickets have been found, and it is estimated that at least twelve hundred are in the third box at the centre door.  The inference is, that there ought to be not more than three thousand people in the house, except admitted by collusion with the committee’s door keepers and the police, one of whom is stationed at each door.  This collusion, the Superintendent says, is impossible, and besides that, there can be no more than 3,000 persons present, as the house is only crowded on the lower floor.  The committee say little but think much.  The question about the tickets can not be settled for an hour or two yet, and will probably amount to nothing, as the Superintendent is about right in his latter assertion.