Winchester, Virginia, July 12, 1861 "Tighter!" Caroline commanded through clenched teeth. She held on securely to the bedpost as her maid gave the corset laces another hard tug. Under normal circumstances Caroline would have preferred breathing to sporting a tiny waist, but the event tonight was far from normal and under no circumstances would she let Mary Pritchard boast a better figure than her own. It was the farewell ball for their boys in grey and the last time they would see many of the eligible young bachelors before the 4th Virginia Infantry Regiment marched off to Washington. Caroline wanted to make a lasting impression. "She's not going no tighter unless you suck it in more, Miz Caroline!" Mabel protested. "Tie it off then, Mabel," Caroline gasped. Stars exploded in her vision and she leaned heavily against her bedpost for support. When she caught her breath again, she stood up straight and surveyed their work in her vanity mirror. For 15 years of age, Caroline had a tall, willowy form. Her 5'5" height brought her closer to a man's eye level than a woman's and while her pale skin was envied by many a young lady, her lack of curve was not. Caroline gingerly placed her hands on her hips and turned from side to side in the mirror. At least she looked like she had a nice waistline now. "That's the tiniest little waist I ever did see!" Mabel exclaimed with satisfaction. Caroline flashed her a weak smile of gratitude. "If I don't swoon by the end of the night, I will be surprised!" "Jus' make sure a nice handsome soldier is there to catch you," Mabel teased as Caroline's lightly freckled cheeks flushed pink. "Now, let's get the rest of you dressed. Your mamma be here any minute to whisk you off!" Mabel soon had Caroline draped in a ruffled, dark grey taffeta gown and was just arranging the last strawberry blonde curl that refused to be tucked into the elaborate bun when Mrs. Charles Hanson came looking for her daughter. Caroline slipped into a pair of beaded grey slippers, snatched up her fan from the dressing table, and flew down the stairs after her mother to the waiting carriage out front. Already inside were her father and older brother Charles Hanson Jr., both looking smart in their freshly pressed uniforms. As soon as the ladies had their skirts in order, the carriage door was shut and the driver clucked at the horses to start the wheels rolling toward the town centre. Caroline could hardly wrap her mind around the small talk and scarcely spoke a word. She spent the whole carriage ride fiddling with her fan and quieting the butterflies that had erupted in her stomach. The last butterfly finally sat still when she stepped into the richly decorated hall already filled with throngs of people. Caroline flicked her fan open and fluttered it before her face, her bright blue eyes peering over the lace to search for familiar faces.