Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Midlist Writer blog, where he talks about writing, adventure travel, caving, and everything else he gets up to. He also reproduces all the posts from Civil War Horror, so drop on by!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Cut your hair, soldier!"

I'm reading The Civil War on the Border by Wiley Britton, a 1000-page magnum opus on the Trans-Mississippi Theater written by a Union veteran in the 1890s. It was one of the earliest books to exhaustively cover the war west of the Mississippi and contains lots of interesting anecdotes.

This one comes from early 1863. The First Arkansas Union Infantry at Fayetteville was a new unit and was filling up rapidly. Many were Arkansas Unionists who had been in hiding from Confederate recruiters or who had been conscripted into the rebel army and had deserted. When they joined the Union army they found life a little different.

"Long hair was the fashion in the South, in that section, and among Southern soldiers, and there was at least one instance where one of these Arkansas recruits refused to have his hair cut and had to be caught and held until the operation was performed, and where one man was sent to the guardhouse because he refused to serve as one of the detail to catch and hold the comrade for shearing."

Photo of unidentified Confederate First Lieutenant courtesy Cowan Auctions.


  1. Sounds like a fun read. It's interesting to study history and to discover that the "usual" that we think of for women's and men's fashions isn't really that usual throughout history and across cultures.

  2. Those were rough and wild times! But, gosh, from all the movies I've seen, I thought scurvy and shaggy was the in thing for those fellas, lol. I need to take advantage of all the great resources I have and do research on the Civil War. The stories are fascinating and endless.

  3. Sean:

    A couple weeks or so ago, you had left a comment on my blog about announcing when Secondhand Shoes was ready for release. I'm planning a blog party from February 19 through the 21st.

    Hugs and chocolate,


    Sounds like not cutting your hair back then could have become a Federal offence. YIKES!


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