Who Had the Best Civil War Facial Hair?

Browse these portraits of officers with great facial hair courtesy of the Library of Congress and then vote for your favorite

John Lorimer Worden

Alexander Shaler

Gen. Alexander Shaler
(Library of Congress)

Gen. Alexander Shaler was awarded the U.S. Army's highest honor for his valor in the Second Battle of Fredericksburg. He also fought at Gettysburg and Wilderness, where he was captured and later returned to the Union side in a prisoner exchange.

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Benjamin Alvord

Brig. Gen Benjamin Alvord
(Library of Congress)

Brig. Gen Benjamin Alvord was the rare West Point graduate with a talent for math. Much of his Army career was spent out West; during the Civil War he oversaw the District of Oregon, where he built up defenses along the Columbia River. Alvord became known after the war as an expert in mathematics.


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Carter Littlepage Stevenson

Maj. Gen. Carter Littlepage Stevenson
(Library of Congress)

Maj. Gen. Carter Littlepage Stevenson left the U.S. Army when his home state of Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861. He withstood the Siege of Vicksburg, commanding the entire right flank of the Confederate Army. Stevenson also fought at the Battle of Chattanooga and was among the officers who surrendered to Union Gen. Sherman in the waning months of the war.

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Alpheus Williams

Maj. Gen. Alpheus Williams
(Library of Congress)

Maj. Gen. Alpheus Williams was originally a member of the Michigan militia and was training volunteers when the Civil War began. He was heavily engaged in the Battle of Antietam, and his division also saw action in the Battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, finishing its war service during Gen. Sherman's March to the Sea.

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Adelbert Ames

Adelbert Ames
(Library of Congress)

Just weeks after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, Adelbert Ames graduated from West Point and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. After finding success as an artillery officer, Ames switched to the infantry, served as the aide-de-camp for Gen. George Meade, and led a division during Gettysburg. After the war, he was appointed provisional governor of Mississippi, and even though he was labeled a "carpetbagger," he was elected to be a U.S. senator and later, again governor.

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J.E.B. Stuart

Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown (J.E.B.) Stuart
(Library of Congress)

One of the most celebrated Confederate officers, Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown (J.E.B.) Stuart was a West Point graduate who was a part of the U.S. Army brigade that captured John Brown of Harpers Ferry fame. Once he resigned and joined the Army of Northern Virginia, he became famous for his role as the battleground commander during the Peninsular Campaign and the Battle of Gettysburg. He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Yellow Tavern in 1864.

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Stephen Bleecker Luce

Rear Admiral Stephen Bleecker Luce
(Library of Congress)

Rear Admiral Stephen Bleecker Luce commanded the Nantucket during the siege of Charleston but is best known for his career after the war. In 1884, he founded the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

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John Haskell King

Col. John Haskell King
(Library of Congress)

A veteran of the Second Seminole War, Col. John Haskell King was initially assigned to the Western theater, where he commanded troops in the Battle of Shiloh. After receiving a promotion for his bravery at the Battle of Chickamauga, King was engaged in the Atlanta campaign, remaining through the siege of Atlanta.

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John Dunlap Stevenson

Maj. Gen. John Dunlap Stevenson
(Library of Congress)

Despite hailing from Virginia and attending college in South Carolina, Maj. Gen. John Dunlap Stevenson served with the Union Army during the war. He fought in a Missouri regiment and after the war practiced law in St. Louis.

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Unidentified Soldier

Unidentified Soldier
(Library of Congress)

This unidentified soldier's facial hair wouldn't pass muster in today's military. There are strict guidelines that require men to be clean shaven; sideburns may not extend beyond the ears and mustaches must be neatly groomed and stay within the corners of the mouth.

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James Allen Hardie

Maj. Gen. James Allen Hardie
(Library of Congress)

Maj. Gen. James Allen Hardie served during the Mexican-American War and in the Civil War largely played an administrative role. When Gen. George Meade received word that he was to be commander of the Army of the Potomac, it was from orders delivered by Hardie.

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W.B. Hazen

Maj. Gen. W.B. Hazen
(Library of Congress)

After recovering from injuries sustained while battling Comanches in Texas in 1859, Maj. Gen. W.B. Hazen commanded a brigade in the Army of the Ohio and was instrumental to the Union victory at the Battle of Shiloh. His troops were also successful at Chattanooga and during the Atlanta Campaign. After the war, President Hayes appointed Hazen chief signal officer, a position he held until his death in 1887.

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John McAllistern Schofield

Lt. Gen. John McAllister Schofield
(Library of Congress)

Lt. Gen. John McAllister Schofield graduated near the top of his class from West Point and taught philosophy at the academy before leaving to teach at Washington University in St. Louis. Schofield quickly moved up the ranks, commanding the entire Army of the Frontier by 1863. He crippled the Confederate Army at the Battles of Franklin and Nashville, and joined Gen. Sherman's army in North Carolina. He served in the subsequent Johnson administration as secretary of war.

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C.B. White

Brig. Gen. C.B. White
(Library of Congress)

The official Library of Congress entry for this photo lists Brig. Gen. C.B. White, but no information about an officer by that name could be found. Regardless, that is one awesome beard.

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Romeyn B. Ayres

Maj. Gen. Romeyn B. Ayres
(Library of Congress)

An 1847 graduate of West Point, Maj. Gen. Romeyn B. Ayres commanded Union artillerymen during the Peninsular campaign, but transferred to the infantry corps in time to lead a brigade during the Battle of Chancellorsville. After the Battle of Gettysburg, where he also saw action, Ayres was sent to New York City to help quell the draft riots.

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Abram Wakeman

Honorable Abram Wakeman
(Library of Congress)

A one-term congressman from New York, Honorable Abram Wakeman raised the 85th Pennsylvania volunteers and served as New York City postmaster during the Civil War. Heavily connected with the Republican Party in New York, Wakeman was instrumental in Lincoln's reelection campaign.

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George Crook

Maj. Gen. George Crook
(Library of Congress)

Between graduating from West Point in 1852 and the outbreak of the Civil War, Maj. Gen. George Crook was stationed in northern California. By September 1862, he led an Ohio brigade at South Mountain and Antietam and flitted between various commands in West Virginia and Maryland.

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John Lorimer Worden

Rear Adm. John Lorimer Worden
(Library of Congress)

Rear Adm. John Lorimer Worden was the first commander of the Union USS Monitor, leading his naval crew against the CSS Virginia, the first battle in history between two ironclads. Worden was slightly injured during the stalemated skirmish, but oversaw the construction and command of several other ironclads over the course of the war.

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Ambrose Burnside

Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside
(Library of Congress)

As the only person in this competition who has a style of facial hair named after him, Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside was a logical choice for this poll. Burnside organized an infantry corps out of Rhode Island and was among the first in Washington, D.C. to protect the capital. In 1862, he was named commander of the Army of the Potomac, but his failure at the Battle of Fredericksburg caused him to turn over control to Gen. Joseph Hooker. Burnside had varied successes (Siege of Knoxville) and defeats (Siege of Petersburg.) He resigned his commission in April 1865.

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Winfield Scott Hancock

[Maj. Gen.] Winfield Scott Hancock
(Library of Congress)

"[Maj. Gen.] Winfield Scott Hancock is one of the handsomest men in the United States Army," wrote Regis de Trobiand in July 1864. The general, not to be confused with Winfield Scott, the hero of the Mexican-American War, was stationed in Los Angeles when the Civil War began. A veritable Zelig of the war, Hancock was a critical field general in the Battles of Williamsburg, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Courthouse. After the war, he served as commander of the Division of the Atlantic and ran for president as a Democrat in 1880, losing to James Garfield.

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Samuel Sprigs Carroll

Samuel Sprigs Carroll
(Library of Congress)

Only a captain at the start of the war, Samuel Sprigs Carroll was a brigadier general by 1864 due to his valor in the Battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. He was often wounded during fighting; after the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, his left arm was amputated. After he recovered, he still continued to command a division in the Army of the Shenandoah and serve in the Army after the war.

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Hiram Berdan

Maj. Gen Hiram Berdan
(Library of Congress)

Prior to the war, Maj. Gen Hiram Berdan invented the Berdan rifle, patented a type of musket ball and was considered an expert marksman. The Union Army recruited the military innovator to create a sharpshooter corps, a special forces group dressed in green that battled at Gettysburg, Shepherdstown and elsewhere.

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Christopher C. Augur

Maj. Gen. Christopher C. Augur
(Library of Congress)

Maj. Gen. Christopher C. Augur, class of 1843 from West Point, fought against Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest prior to the Civil War. He was severely wounded at the Battle of Cedar Mountain, but recovered and commanded a division during the siege of Port Hudson.

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Thomas O. Selfridge Jr.

Adm. Thomas O. Selfridge Jr.
(Library of Congress)

Adm. Thomas O. Selfridge Jr. took command of the USS Monitor after John L. Worden was wounded. He engaged in various other naval campaigns in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of North Carolina.

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