George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 11 February 1799]

11. A little lowering—W. in the Morning—Wind Southerly and Mer. at 27. Went up to Alexandria to the celebration of my birth day. Many Manœuvres were performed by the Uniform Corps and an elegant Ball & Supper at Night.

Participating in the maneuvers were the Alexandria Silver Grays, the “Volunteer Troop of Light Dragoons,” and the Alexandria Dragoons (Columbian Mirror [Alexandria], 9 Feb. 1799). The ball was held at Gadsby’s tavern, which was located on Royal Street at the corner of Cameron. John Wise in 1792 had built a large three-story building adjoining the old City Tavern which Wise boasted as having “twenty commodious, well-furnished rooms in it” (Va. Gaz. and Alexandria Adv., 14 Mar. 1793). In 1794 Wise leased both this new building and the old City Tavern to John Gadsby, an Englishman. Gadsby combined the two buildings into one tavern which for many years provided some of the best accommodations in the country.

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