My copy of Trifet's Acme of Dances (Boston, c1900) is a bit of a puzzle to date. It's at least a second edition; an earlier (1886) version advertised 114 dances, while mine has 214. It has a copyright date of 1893, but advertises the June, 1900, issue of Trifet's Monthly Budget of Music on the cover. My best guess is that it is a c1900 reprint of an 1893 edition.
Inside, it is a bizarre mashup of several different sources, as evidenced by the changing fonts and formatting of the music. The first forty-eight pages are easily recognizable to anyone who works with nineteenth-century dance music from the Boston area as having been printed from Elias Howe's plates; his font and his dance instructions are unmistakeable. So is his tendency to set figured dances to any piece of music he could lay his hands on.
By the time Howe got around to publishing his arrangement of Charles d'Albert's "The New German Redowa", it seems to have no longer been "new". It turns up simply as "German Redowa" in Howe's undated Musician's Omnibus (c1860) with one strain missing and the lengthier strains rewritten into repeats with alternate endings. There are no dance instructions there; those seem to have been acquired somewhat later. My earliest copy of them is in another Howe publication, The Pianist's Social Circle (Boston, undated but supposedly c1869). The same instructions are repeated word-for-word in Trifet's.
The dance itself -- a single, lengthy quadrille figure with polka redowa segments -- is almost certainly Howe's creation and is difficult to date more specifically than post-1865, though to my eye it feels more like the single-figure quadrilles of the last quarter of the century than the quadrilles of the mid-century.
I would not use this quadrille for the Civil War era.
Here's a scan of the Howe arrangement and dance instructions (click to enlarge) from my copy of Trifet's:
Typically for Howe, who was not the most careful of editors, the instructions are unclear, with no way to differentiate between four- or eight-bar figures. The music is no help; it is a mess of repeat signs (or lack of them when needed), alternate endings, and Da Capo instructions that make it hard to puzzle out exactly how long one iteration of the dance is supposed to be, or whether the dance is supposed to match up to the music at all. With Howe, that is not actually a given; the music could be arranged for use as a couple dance and the dance figures stuck on without any thought for correlating the two.
Despite these problems, the attraction of a single-figure polka redowa quadrille was sufficient for me to simply make some arbitrary decisions about both figures and music.
First: the figures fit nicely into a 48-bar repeat structure. If the four strains (A, B, C, D) of the Howe arrangement are played in typical rondo fashion with an introduction and ending on the first strain, then disregarding most of the internal signage, this structure works out nicely:
A + (BACADA x 6)
Any other 48-bar repeat structure will get no argument from me.
The dance itself is effectively three figures, danced continuously, with the set breaking into individual couples for a final dance around the room, similar to other single-figure quadrilles of the late nineteenth century. Here's how I would reconstruct it, with further notes below:
Introduction (8 bars)
8b Honors (partner and corner)
First playing (48 bars)
8b Head couples balance and turn two hands
4b Same four forward and back
4b Same four half right and left
16b Repeat all of above
8b Same four polka redowa inside set
8b All eight polka redowa halfway around the set
Second playing (48 bars)
Repeat all of the above but with the side couples leading
Third playing (48 bars)
8b First couple polka redowa inside set
8b All eight grand right and left halfway around
8b All eight polka redowa halfway around the set (to places)
24b Repeat all of above with the second (other head) couple leading
Fourth playing (48 bars)
24b Same as third playing; third couple leading
24b Same as above; fourth couple leading
Fifth and sixth playings (96 bars)
4b All join hands, forward and back
4b Ladies pass one place to right
8b All eight polka redowa halfway around the set
48b Repeat all of the above three more times to return to places
32b Break set and polka redowa around the room
Performance and reconstruction notes
1. Length of figures. As noted, Howe uses a single-bar symbol between all figures, making no distinction as to whether they take four measures or eight. My decisions above are based on typical figure lengths for the nineteenth century and the effort to make the dance follow some sort of standard repeat structure.
2. Steps. When a dance in redowa time says "polka", it means "polka redowa" -- polka step, redowa time. Note that Howe specifically excludes the upbeat hop in his description of the polka redowa; it's simply a slide-cut-leap sequence.
Unlike, say, the German L'Alliance (1856), I do not believe this quadrille is meant to be danced with polka redowa or polka mazurka steps throughout. Instead, I would recommend simply using three little walking steps per measure for most of the figures and using the polka redowa (turning, in closed position) only for the dance around or inside the set segments.
3. Balance and turn. There are several different options for balancing in nineteenth-century American quadrilles. My preference here is simply to step right (closing left in front in third), then left (closing right in front in third), and repeat, taking one measure for each step-and-close. A two-hand turn is the standard second half of "balance and turn."
3. Forward and back. Six steps in each direction is a lot of travel, even if the steps are small. I would instead fill each measure with a step forward and close, rising slightly on the toes then sinking flat. Two steps (in two measures) forward, two back.
4. All join hands, forward and back. The original instructions are simply to join hands, but it would be a bit odd to join hands and do nothing for four or eight bars of music. Forward and back is a typical "grand round" variation for eight dancers in a circle and is found in other waltz quadrilles printed by Howe. I would do it with the same two steps in each direction as in the forward and back above.
5. Ladies pass one place to right. The "passes" are a classic nineteenth-century figure, dating at least back to the Spanish dances and waltz quadrilles of the 1820s. They still appear in some later nineteenth-century versions of "the" Spanish Dance.
Some versions of the Spanish Dance give the join hands/ladies pass combination only four bars total, but quadrilles (with further for the ladies to travel) typically allow eight. Had Howe intended the two figures together to take only four bars, I think they would not have been separated by strain markers.
5. All eight polka redowa halfway around the set. Some quadrilles of the late nineteenth century give eight bars to go all the way around the set. Some give sixteen, so eight bars would take the dancers only halfway around. Apparently some people liked to move quickly and some didn't. My preference, influenced by older quadrilles like The Moscovians and the experience of dancing in the large elliptical hoops of the 1860s, is for a more spacious set and a gentler pace, the dancers moving halfway around in eight bars, arriving back to places on every other repeat of the figure.
6. All eight grand right and left halfway around. As with dancing around the set, this figure was sometimes given only eight bars but more often a full sixteen bars to go all the way around. And while dancing in 3/4 time with three steps per measure makes it less of a rush to get all the way around in eight measures, I would still choose to go only halfway around. The amount of time for a full circuit is usually the same required as that to dance (waltz, polka, polka redowa, whatever) all the way around the set; grand right and left halfway and then dance back to places is a common combination.
The dancers should make large, looping passes, focusing their attention on each person they take hands with rather than rushing past them. This pace also allows ample time to get into a closed hold and positioned properly for the following dance-around.
A note on the polka redowa around the set and the grand right and left: both could easily have been sixteen-bar figures taking the dancers all the way around, but (1) that really wrecks any kind of regular musical repeat structure, and (2) Howe commonly uses single bars to separate both four-bar and eight-bar figures, but he generally specifies sixteen bars when required.