Here we have a distinguished gentleman indeed. Reclining in his chair, Young is wearing the fine civilian clothes he donned for his post-war career as a politician and diplomat, although this photo was apparently taken at the height of the war itself, in 1863. His face demonstrates an unusual take on a goatee, with his remarkable moustache almost blocking out what little beard he has on his chin. Civil war beard styles.
Young was one of the leading Confederate cavalry figures of the war, more or less from start to finish. He served under Wade Hampton and J.E.B. Stuart, showing bravery and leadership skills in a series of battles that eventually won him promotion to major general late in 1864. He saw out the war desperately and vainly defending his home state of Georgia and then his birthplace of South Carolina. After the surrender he returned to Georgia and served four terms in the US House of Representatives, later becoming a consul in Russia and Central America.
Hat in his right hand and sword at his left, Porter looks like the smart and distinguished general he was during the early stages of the war. But events in the summer of 1862 would lead to a controversial court martial and the effective end of his military career.
A professional soldier and veteran of the Mexican-American War, Porter was appointed to a senior command within George McClellan&rsquo,s Army of the Potomac. He developed a good reputation, which was shattered when he took the blame for the fiasco at the Second Battle of Bull Run. Porter refused an order from John Pope to mount an attack on Stonewall Jackson&rsquo,s Confederates, because he feared exposing his men to a rebel force under James Longstreet which had just arrived on the battlefield. A day later, Porter reluctantly agreed to the attack, and his men were duly routed along with the rest of the Union Army. Once his friend McClellan was relieved of command later in the year, Porter no longer had any political cover, and was soon arrested, tried and convicted for his initial refusal to follow orders. He spent much of the rest of his life seeking to clear his name, and his sentence was eventually commuted in 1886.
General James Longstreet (Confederate)
One of the most prominent generals of the war, and later one of the Confederacy&rsquo,s most controversial figures, this picture of Longstreet was taken at some point after the war had ended. We find him looking well-fed and distinguished, with his salt-and-pepper beard perhaps betraying a touch of artificial help in his very dark hair.
Longstreet was one of the best generals on either side, a senior corps commander in General Lee&rsquo,s Army of Northern Virginia for much of the conflict. His finest moment came perhaps at the Second Battle of Bull Run, when he led 25,000 men in the largest mass assault of the entire war to rout the Union Army&rsquo,s left flank. After the war, Longstreet became the most senior Confederate to join the Republican party during Reconstruction, supporting his old military school friend Ulysses S Grant&rsquo,s bid for the presidency 1868. Longstreet later served the US government in a variety of roles, including Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. Derided as a traitor by many in the South, Longstreet was blamed for the defeat at Gettysburg and much else besides, and his reputation has only recovered in recent times.
With his bushy black beard and his sword at his left hand, Gillmore looks every bit the classic Civil War-era general. In reality, he wasn&rsquo,t a classic soldier-general at all, but one of the innovative military engineers who helped the Union win the war.
Civil war era beard styles
Gillmore&rsquo,s most notable achievement came at Fort Pulaski near Savannah in 1862. He used the new generation of rifled naval artillery to lay waste to the fort&rsquo,s stone walls, essentially rendering old-style brick fortifications obsolete overnight. His record in more conventional warfare was less notable, and he was in charge for the ill-advised assaults on Fort Wagner off Charleston in July 1863, battles memorable for both the involvement of African-American soldiers and the high number of Union casualties. After the war, Gillmore had a long career as a civil engineer, including rebuilding and updating some of the Atlantic defences he had himself helped to destroy.
General Stonewall Jackson (Confederate)
His beard, although impressive, is actually one of the least remarkable things about Stonewall&rsquo,s general physical appearance. Convinced that one of his arms was longer than the other, he usually held one arm up in order to improve his circulation. He also chewed lemons in an attempt to ease his chronic indigestion, although his typically serious expression may have had more to do with his famously devout Christian faith than his taste for bitter citrus fruit.
An early Confederate hero, Jackson got his nickname at the First Battle of Bull Run, when his brigade of Virginians stood firm against a fierce Union assault. His Shenandoah Valley campaign, in which he skilfully manouevred his smaller force to a series of victories over much larger Union armies, gave him the reputation as one of the great generals of the war. Although undoubtedly eccentric and sometimes unpredictable (his rather sketchy performances during the Seven Days battles have been criticised by historians), his death in 1863 was a serious setback to both Southern morale and Confederate military capability. He was hit by friendly fire in the immediate aftermath of one of his greatest victories, the routing of the Union right at the Battle of Chancellorsville.
General Napoleon Bonaparte Buford (Union)
The American Civil War was notably influenced by the Napoleonic Wars half a century earlier, particularly in the way many of the battles were conducted. Several generals who had learned all about Napoleon at military school modelled themselves on the great man to a greater or lesser extent. But none shared both of his names, with the exception of the immaculately bearded Napoleon Bonaparte Buford.
Buford had only spent four years in the US Army after graduating from West Point, leaving to become an engineer in 1835. A quarter of a century later he returned to the colours on the outbreak of war, and perhaps his most notable achievement came at the Battle of Island Ten on the Mississippi in early 1862, where he commanded a brigade of infantry on board Union vessels. His younger brother John Buford achieved greater fame, playing a prominent role at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Brigadier General James Lusk Alcorn (Confederate)
Beards being so popular during 1860s America, prominent individuals explored a variety of styles in their attempts to look both fashionable and distinguished. Here, Alcorn shows off a bushy beard-and-moustache combo without any sideburns. With his hair still dark around the sides, you imagine his grey beard must have looked quite striking.
Alcorn himself wasn&rsquo,t really a soldier. A lawyer and politician in Mississippi, he was an opponent of secession but joined the Confederate Army anyway, serving as a Brigadier General. Not having any military experience, he spent most of his time in uniform engaged in raising recruits and garrison duty, although he was a prisoner of war for a time in 1862. Given parole by the Union Army, he went back to his plantation and made a lot of money trading cotton. After the war he was a notable Scalawag - a Southern supporter of the Republican Party and its Reconstruction policies - and served in the US Senate and as Governor of Mississippi.
Brigadier General John A Campbell (Union)
Relatively speaking, Campbell&rsquo,s Civil War military record was solid but unspectacular. This was in stark contrast to his beard, which was clearly neither of those things. I&rsquo,d like to think that if you saw him head-on, you&rsquo,d be able to see his bow tie through the little gap in the middle of his beard. I&rsquo,d further like to think he planned it that way deliberately.
Campbell began the war as a Lieutenant in the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. After serving throughout the conflict at western battles including Shiloh, Perryville and Franklin, he was made a Brigadier General in the closing weeks of the war. It was the springboard to a successful post-war career. He was a journalist before returning to the regular army, then becoming the first Governor of the Wyoming Territory.
War is no laughing matter, but the photographic evidence suggests John B Gordon was a stern, unsmiling sort of fellow, even by the standards of the age. Just look at the dark hair, dark eyes, and that impressively dark and bushy goatee.
Civil war era facial hair styles
Soldiers with professional military experience were at a premium when the Civil War broke out, and Gordon didn&rsquo,t have any. Not that it mattered. A lawyer and businessman from Georgia, he joined the Confederate Army in 1861 and rose through the ranks impressively, finishing the war as a major general. His aggressive style saw him personally wounded several times, including at Antietam where he was hit in the legs, arm, shoulder and then face, almost drowning in his own blood. A prominent Southern politician and white supremacist after the war, he served as Governor of Georgia and twice in the US Senate, as well as, according to some sources, a leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
Of all the union generals to have lined up against Robert E Lee&rsquo,s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, perhaps none suffered as infamous a defeat as John Pope did at the Second Battle of Bull Run. But then, none had a beard quite like this, bushy and surprisingly extensive, despite the absence of either sideburns or a moustache.
Pope took command of the Union army in Virginia in the summer of 1862, as President Lincoln reacted to the failure of the famously cautious George McClellan&rsquo,s efforts in the Peninsula Campaign. Pope, flush with military successes over the Confederates on the Mississippi River, promised to aggressively pursue the enemy in Virginia too. But he fell into a trap near Manassas, was hopelessly outmanoeuvred, and the Union suffered arguably its most humiliating defeat of the war. Pope was immediately sent into a virtual military exile, fighting Indian tribes in Minnesota.