Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Williams served in the Taranaki and Waikato campaigns of the New Zealand wars. Between actions he enjoyed an evening at a ball at Government House in Auckland in October 1864. He ironically entitled his sketch of the occasion 'The horrors of war', and attached it to his dance card from the evening. Formal balls were fairly common events in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch during the 1850s and 1860s.
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