In times of war, nation's looks to their heroes. Few heroes ranked as high in the eyes of the Confederate citizenry in the fall of 1862 than Generals Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, and "Stonewall" Jackson. They carried the war successfully from the gates of Richmond to Abraham Lincoln's doorstep and beyond the Potomac. Southerners yearned for news of the three men and tried to picture their heroes in an age before personal portraits were universally circulated.
The war correspondent of the Columbus (GA) Times penned the following descriptions of what Lee, Longstreet, and Jackson looked like following their campaign into Maryland. It was reprinted in numerous papers, but this article has been pulled from the November 4, 1862 issue of the Staunton Spectator (VA).
General Lee has, I believe, won his way to everybody's confidence. In appearance he is tall, portly and commanding. His dress is usually a plain Brigadier's uniform, a black felt hat, with the brim turned down, and he wears a short grizzled beard all round his face. He has much of the Washingtonian dignity about him, and is much respected by all with whom he is thrown. At Sharpsburg I saw him on the field during the heat of the action. He was surrounded by his staff and a perfect squadron of couriers. He was engaged in calmly viewing the storm of battle, and giving orders in a manner of cool reliance. Aids and couriers were hurrying to and from the right, left and centre, and the whole disposition of forces seemed under his perfect control.