Before the March 22, 1860 departure of the U.S. S. Powhatan, its crew and the Japanese Embassy for San Francisco, the Honolulu Rifles hosted a military ball to honor the officers of the Powhatan. The occasion was held in Honolulu’s Armory Hall. There is no mention of the Japanese attending.
The news was featured in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser in its March 22, 1860 edition. Among those present were the Powhatan’s officers, members of the diplomatic community, the Honolulu Rifles, and Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma:
“The complimentary ball given on Friday evening last to the officers of the U.S. frigate Powhatan, by the HONOLULU RIFLES, was a splendid affair. Following as it did close after those which we have already noticed, it lost none of its effect by a comparison with them, and was at once an honor to the spirited corps which gave it, and to the officers who planned and carried it out; and adds another instance to the proverbial hospitality ever met by strangers in Honolulu.
“The flags and other insignia with which the ball was so tastefully decorated, and which gave it a martial appearance, its spaciousness, and the brilliant effect of the gaslight which had been recently introduced, made it in the opinion of all the finest public hall yet opened in Honolulu. Its capacity may be judged from the fact that over sixty couples were on the floor dancing at one time.
“Their Majesties the King and Queen, all the officers of the Powhatan, and the resident diplomatic and ministerial corps were present, most of them in uniform. This, added to the fact that the company also appeared in their tasteful uniform, gave a display rarely witnessed in Honolulu.
“To Lieut. Thomas Spencer, without whose generous and patriotic efforts, the ball would probably not have been given, and who acted as major dono on the occasion, as well as to Capt. J.H. Brown and Lieut. M. Brown, is due principally the credit of one of the finest displays ever seen here. The adaptedness of the Armory Hall for public occasions having been so fully shown, we trust that some arrangement will be made to open it to the Public when required.”