[caption id="attachment_10254" align="alignleft" width="300"]<a href="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2015\/10\/DSC_0089.web_.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-10254" src="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2015\/10\/DSC_0089.web_-300x199.jpg" alt="Re-enactors and guests circle the dance floor in the Grand March during the ball Saturday night as part of the re-enactment activities at Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park. C. Moore photos" width="300" height="199" \/><\/a> Re-enactors and guests circle the dance floor in the Grand March during the ball Saturday night as part of the re-enactment activities at Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park.\u00a0<em>Photo courtesy of C. Moore<\/em>[\/caption]\r\n\r\nCailey Moore\r\nStaff Writer\r\n\r\nClad in warm shawls and stockings, the ladies at Saturday's re-enactment at Droop Mountain Battlefield would not allow the chilly mountain air to stop them from gathering for the Women of the Civil War tea social.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe ladies, at the time, had their own societies where they would get together, be partially social and support each other,\u201d re-enactor Phyllis Baxter explained. \u201cWe do period appropriate foods to the extent that we can, we try to do a project each time, and then we'll do some readings. The customs of the time for entertainment \u2013 they didn't have anything recorded. So, when women gathered, they would provide their own entertainment and they would do readings, play music, or they'd sing a song, and everybody would have their piece they could share, so we try to do readings to recognize that.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cIt was a place to come and socialize,\u201d added fellow re-enactor Diane Tennant, \u201cbecause, a lot of the time, ladies would get tired. They were so busy with the housework and would need a break. If you were an uppercrust person \u2013 say a planter's wife or your family was upperclass \u2013 you do something like this, at least, once a week. Other women would do it once a month, if that.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn sticking with tradition, the women provided plates of meat and cucumber sandwiches, a variety of fruit, cakes and cookies for their guests.\r\n\r\nGuests, as well as re-enactors, were treated to a period-appropriate craft under the direction of Tennant.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt's a needle book,\u201d she explained. \u201cThe women would have to have a place to put their sewing needles, so they would have something like this. This is felted wool [on the inside], and this is regular wool on the outside. They would put their needles in there.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe ones I read about were elaborately decorated with embroidery and beads, and they would close it with a button. Beads are hard to work with, so we're trying to do something simple. In the past, we've done head coverings to show women how to do their hair. A lot of the time, a lot of us don't know, and it's something we can learn to do together.\u201d\r\n\r\nAs the women enjoyed their refreshments and worked on their stitches, Linda Barnes took center stage for a reading from Rebecca D. Larson's <em>When a Rose is not a Rose<\/em>.\r\n\r\n\u201cI picked out a couple of short readings dealing with the roles that some of the women took on during the war,\u201d she said. \u201cI'm going to read \u201cThe Nancy Hearts,\u201d which is about a group of women who were organized, and one on Francis Louisa Clayton, who followed her husband into the army and dressed as a man.\u201d\r\n\r\nAmong the women gathered, Dianna Lynch, Natalie Adkins and Stefani Angel \u2013 of Chapman's Battery, 1st Virginia Light Artillery \u2013 represented women like Clayton.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere were women that disguised themselves as men and fought,\u201d explained Adkins, \u201cbut it was rare. The wives would sometimes follow their husbands in.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cYou had wives that followed the camp,\u201d Lynch added,\u201d and if somebody died and the unit needed someone, the wives would fill in.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cThis is the first time I've been here,\u201d said Confederate Theresa Miller, \u201cand this is actually really awesome. I've been to a lot of different places, and they don't do anything besides very formal gatherings for the women.\u201d\r\n\r\nThat evening, guests and re-enactors returned to Droop Mountain for a night of dancing to the sounds of the Rich Mountain String Band.\r\n\r\nThe band \u2013 consisting of guitarist Peter Baxter, fiddler Mary Caraher and banjo player Les Caraher \u2013 fiddled, picked, plucked and strummed along as caller Phyllis Baxter led the gathered dancers through a night of traditional Civil War dances \u2013 including a Grand March, the Soldier's Joy, a Waltz and the Virginia Reel.\r\n\r\nOf the balls' history, Melissa Evans, of Mercer County, Pennsylvania, described it as a gathering used to socialize.\r\n\r\n\u201cThey didn't see each other very often,\u201d she explained. They lived on farms far apart from one another, so when they got together for a social or barn raising, it was a way for the whole gamily to get together.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe've [Evans and her husband] done many balls, but I'm not tonight because I'm in my uniform. They do the Virginia Reel, and that's a lot of fun. It's nice because you get to learn it. They teach it like a square dance. They talk you through it, even if you've never done it before, and if you're not the first person in line, you just do what the first person does. It's a lot of fun.\u201d\r\n\r\nEvans and her husband began re-enacting as newlyweds and have been re-enacting for 22 years.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe weren't even married for a full year,\u201d she added. \u201cThere was a group of fellows, full-timers, who were re-enacting with a group out of Pittsburgh. They wanted to start a group closer to home, so they put up signs in all the local restaurants.\r\n\r\n\u201cMy husband loves the history of the war and had always wanted to try re-enacting, but he could never find a local group. We didn't know where to begin, and then we walked into the local diner and saw the sign. We decided to go check it out and have been doing it since.\u201d\r\n\r\nWhen asked why she and her husband continue to re-enact, Evans said, \u201cWe do it to preserve the history.\r\n\r\n\u201cIn Mercer County, fifth grade is around the time when students learn about the Civil War. We'll go to the schools and set up a little camp so they can see what it was like. Students are always surprised by how heavy the muskets are. We set up a little hospital tent, too.\u201d\r\n\r\nLike tea socials, balls have their own etiquette, and Mike Kiss, of the 9th Pennsylvania Reserves, does his best to educate his fellow soldiers on the proper etiquette to display on and off the dance floor.\r\n\r\n\u201cA man has to escort a lady onto the dance floor,\u201d he explained, \u201cand he has to escort her off the dance floor. I try to teach that to my gentlemen \u2013 try to teach them to be that way on the dance floor. They should take the lady by the hand, and she's always on the right side. They should take her left hand in their right, escort her from where she's at to the ball, dance with her, and then escort her off the dance floor.\r\n\r\n\u201cNow, they can also ask her for another dance, or they can thank her for the dance and move on to the next dance card. You should never leave a lady alone.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cIn that time, husbands and wives didn't dance together,\u201d Evans added. \u201cThey weren't allowed to touch in public. It was considered inappropriate. So, the husband would go and get his wife's dance card filled. Sometimes at these things, you'll see them. They're just a little card that hangs from a woman's wrist. But, the husband would go and get that filled out for her. It's a whole different etiquette, which is kind of neat, because you don't have that now.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn addition to the ball and tea social, Droop Mountain came alive with the sounds of battle as re-enactors of the North and the South clashed on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.