Invitation to the first ball of the Danville Greys
"First Ball of the Danville Greys,"1860, Broadside, 1860 .F52 BOX, Special Collections, Library of Virginia.
In the wake of John Brown's October 1859 raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, many Virginians joined existing militia companies or formed new ones. Enthusiasm for militia service in Danville filled the ranks of the Danville Blues, which led to the organization of a new company, the Danville Greys, on November 9, 1859. After the convention meeting in Richmond voted to secede from the United States on April 17, 1861, the Greys were mustered into service on April 23. The unit became Company B of the 18th Regiment Virginia Infantry.
Considered part of the state militia, volunteer units such as the Danville Greys also served as social organizations within the community, holding picnics, balls, and other entertainments.