In the 1850's in Paris France, Louis Daguerre was experimenting with silverscreen images and mercury vapors, the result became known as the Daguerreotype. By modulating the temperature and other variables he was able to capture clear images of his subjects. He became known as the father of modern photography. Many Daguerreoptypes have an other earthly quality and distinctive clarity to them because the mercury vapors can be very random to work with.
Notice here the daguerreotype of General Bee.
General Barnard Elliott Bee Jr. served on the american frontier and in the Civil War. He loved the military life. He distinguished himself with gallentry on the battlefield many times but very noticabley in the battle of Las Cruces, in New Mexico. Imagine when this daguerreotype was made, perhaps his mother or wife led this very object in her hands.