An all-star cast

Although benefits might honor exceptional talent, or service, just as frequently they were mounted at a moment of imminent long-distance travel and a lengthy separation.  Included in the new troupe Birch & Cotton were organizing would be the champion jig dancer, Tommy Peel, seen here with banjoist, Frank Converse.  In April of 1862, only a month before the benefit, Converse had played for Peel in a match dance for the title of undisputed champion.  This may account for the star in Peel's belt.