This mid-century, 1800's illustration is of a Russian wedding tradition whereby bride and groom are hurtled towards the church, pursued by more thundering carriages and horsemen. Richmond's wedding parties around 1864 may have found the scene familiar. NYPL
Sorry. Some things are just a set-up. This is where belonging to CWT is a big, fat joy- when baffled, bring it here! There's a quote in the following clip from a Richmond paper, from 1864 " This is a War institution, this Wedding Brigade.... ". Article's writer is hoping this is the case. I'm hoping someone has heard of this?
Ok, first, what seems to be background- this 1864 " Soldier's Weddings " article, albeit Northern, to another article from a Richmond, Virginia newspaper , 1864 entitled " The Wedding Brigade ". As war wore our social fabric to ribbons an odd thing happened. Please ignore the usual Yankee swipe at ' Rebel ' men- article is fairly long but worth it as a prelude. North and South, boots were polished, skirts hiked up and a dash was being made to the altar. Cupid, we assume, in tow.
So then, this conversation out of the blue. I can find exactly nothing more on the " Funeral Brigade " spoken of, either. From what you can gather, Wedding Crashers run amuck swarmed the weddings of strangers- en mass, as it were, like some bizarre, intrusive flash mob. Pre-war, this apparently well known group of females engaged in the same peculiar behavior at funerals for people they never knew in life.
"......idle, curious, and often vulgar wedding mobs. "
To re-cap- and would love to know if anyone has caught a whiff of this bizarre, societal behavior, private weddings were crashed by female spectators, as some form of entertainment? If not, chalk it up to another of war's bizarre manifestations- but it still does not explain the funerals.