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The Inaugural Ball Food Fight Of 1865

We always thought inaugural balls were elegant affairs until we read The Smithsonian’s account of how the celebration for President Abraham Lincoln’s second term descended into a gloriously messy food fight. Some 4,000 guests, who had gathered in Washington on the evening of March 6, 1865, stormed the 250ft long buffet table when the food was revealed at midnight. Piled high with oysters, roast beef, veal, turkey, venison, smoked ham, lobster salad and a huge array of desserts and sweets, the hungry guests attacked the food, with chaotic results. Newspapers that were published the following day noted the ill-mannered behavior of the guests. “In less than an hour the table was a wreck…positively frightful to behold,” wrote the New York...

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