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Antebellum Warriors

Sixth-plate ambrotype by an anonymous photographer. Thomas Harris Collection.

Sixth-plate ambrotype by an anonymous photographer. Thomas Harris Collection.

Sporting a beard and a hint of a smile, this naval 1st assistant engineer dresses in an 1852 regulation uniform. The general order, dated March 8, 1852, provides detailed guidelines about what to wear and how to wear it. Also included, a passage addressing hair and beards: “The hair of all persons belonging to the Navy, when in actual service, is to be kept short. No part of the beard is to be worn long, and the whiskers shall not descend more than two inches below the tip of the ear, except at sea, in high latitudes, when the Regulation may, for the time, be dispensed with by order of the Commander of a Squadron, or of a vessel acting under separate orders. Mustaches and imperials are not to be worn by officers or men on any pretense whatever.” Judging from this likeness, he appears to be in compliance on the beard front.

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