What’s acceptable?

Discussion in 'War of 1812' started by oddguy, Nov 14, 2018.

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  1. Nov 14, 2018 #1

    oddguy

    oddguy

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    I know this has probably been discussed before( likely many times). But I’m brand new in the reenacting world and will be reeancting with a militia unit this upcoming season and want to know what is acceptable facial hair for a man in a militia unit? I know most men even militia were clean shaven, but for a volunteer unit? Does my beard have to go?
     
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  2. Nov 14, 2018 #2

    Cruzatte

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    I used to do 1812 at Fort Osage. Over the years, I did various impressions. The one I did longest was as a musician in the Regular Army. And yes, the beard had to go. Even the Missouri Territorial Militia reenactors at the fort were clean shaven, except for the very fashionable side burns. Ask the unit commander where you are.
     
  3. Nov 14, 2018 #3

    tenngun

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    It will be up to your unit. Beards were always on men’s faces at any time, but... they were not always in style, and most men didn’t wear them at the time. Most units had a barber who did the shaving, mostly twice a week.
     
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  4. Nov 15, 2018 #4

    Le Loup

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    You have to bare in mind oddguy that in living history/reenactment today the priority is focused on "the common man". What most people are trying to avoid is having a relatively non common thing used by everyone & his/her dog! However, then as now there were individuals who were not common. Imagine an individual that spent most of his/her time living in the woods, very little contact with other white people except when needing to trade. Would they bother to shave? They might & they might not. Women wore men's clothing, would you count that as being common dress for a woman? No of course not but some women did wear men's clothing in the woods.
    More on beards here: https://woodsrunnersdiary.blogspot.com/search?q=beards
    Keith.
     
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  5. Nov 15, 2018 #5

    Artificer

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    In addition to Keith's (and Spence 10's earlier documentation in other threads) on beards in the time frame; there were also original accounts of some men with beards at Fort Wayne, IN up to, during and after the War of 1812. Besides the soldiers who had to be shaved at least twice a week, the Federally Appointed Indian Agent was clean shaven; though one or two of his workers wore beards. Scouts/Free Traders and other civilians showed up from time to time with beards, though some shaved once they got to that tiny outpost of civilization in the Old Northwest Territory.

    Gus
     
  6. Nov 15, 2018 #6

    oddguy

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    Thanks guys,all great info.
     
  7. Feb 4, 2019 #7

    54ball

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    It was traditional for pioneers (axe men) to wear beards in European Armies . It still is in the British Army. Pioneers were somewhat like engineers and carpenters. Pioneers would go ahead of an army to clear trails, build roads and secure a river crossing. Pioneers were also used to breech walls to break sieges. These men tended to be large and imposing.
    A good question is whether that tradition of beards for pioneers existed in the American Army and or the regional militia units.
     
  8. Feb 11, 2019 #8

    Loyalist Dave

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    I don't normally go as modern as the 19th century, and I know that for enlisted men in the British ranks in the 18th century, shaving was done twice a week, and is suggested this was Sundays and Wednesdays, which was thought to be "clean shaven" YET today I also found a neat little tid-bit about "clean shaven" …

    From the book A Colored Man's Reminiscences of James Madison, 1865, Paul Jennings, President Madison's "body servant" while a slave, reports that he gave Mr. Madison a Shave "every other day". So even the President of The United States at the beginning of the 19th century, would some days sport a day's growth of whiskers. ;)

    LD
     
  9. Feb 11, 2019 #9

    Straekat

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    Adult males have different rates of beard growth. Some can shave in the morning, and by mid afternoon, the inner werewolf starts appearing, especially if they have dark hair and a very light skin color. Lighter hair color? You might not see it, although it can still be there and the other half will complain if she's not a fan of furry faces. Some can skip a day or two, others can't.

    Not everyone can be lumped in one category.
     
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  10. Feb 11, 2019 #10

    Loyalist Dave

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    While that is true, and not trying to lump everyone together, I am very fair haired, especially on the face, and I have had co-workers who by five in the evening didn't have "Five O'Clock Shadow" but actually needed a shave...., yet I still know that I am not "clean shaved" by our standards, as they would've known by theirs. Hence the interesting observation on the President, (who was prematurely gray by our standards - if the portraits are believable), and he still had himself shaved every other day.

    LD
     

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