Fort Robinson Hop

The frontier post of Fort Robinson was the scene of frequent dances and parties. The following account of an 1883 “hop” was published in the Omaha Bee: “Fort Robinson, Nebr., September 1, 1883.–A pleasing break in the monotony of garrison life in the quarters was the ball given here last evening by members of Co. C, Fourth Infantry to Co. M, Fifth Infantry, which is generally conceded to have been one of the most successful and satisfactory events of the kind which has ever taken place at Fort Robinson. Last October when Captain [Edwin M.] Coate’s company arrived at this post after a weary march from Sidney, 130 miles distant, they found a smoking hot supper and a genial welcome from company M, which was gratefully appreciated and warmly remembered by the men.

“A combination of circumstances have prevented Company C. from earlier reciprocating the attention then shown them, but for several weeks past preparations have been in progress for a return of hospitalities which culminated last night in a soldier’s ball . . . . Invitations were extended to all the companies present and to the officers and their families. The dancing hall, a rough slab structure with canvas roof, which stands in the rear of company M’s quarters, was nicely decorated with flags, while two wall tents in the rear furnished accommodations for dressing rooms and the preparation of lemonade. Shortly after tatoo the company began to assemble, and by taps the orchestra had struck up the opening march and the floor was well filled with dancers.

“The capacity of Fort Robinson in turning out lady partners, was well tested. The wives and daughters of several sergeants, the servants . . . and a large contingent from laundry row, made the gathering anything but the stag party that might have been expected. . . . Supper was spread in the dining room of Company C’s quarters. Two long tables extended down the length of the room, with accommodations for 100 guests. Much taste was displayed in the decoration of the supper room, and the bill of fare was quite elaborate, while the supper was universally pronounced to be satisfactory in every respect. Dancing was continued, by permission of the commanding officer, until early in the morning, and the guests departed with many congratulations to Co. C. over the success of the entertainment.”

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