Officer 39th New York Volunteer Infantry Garibaldi Guard USA

Garibaldi Guards

While some units adopted the uniform style of the French-Algerian zouaves, a few followed the pattern of another contemporary European hero, the great Italian patriot, Giuseppe Garibaldi. Thus, this officer's most distinctive uniform feature is his wide-brimmed, black, Bersaglieri hat with a chin-strap and a large plume on the left, a pattern worn to this day by some units of the Italian Army. Unlike most Yankee officers, he wears no shoulder straps to indicate his rank, but has an unusual piping of gold on his shoulder seams, instead. There is also just a hint of decorative "frogging" on his cuffs, but otherwise he is a subdued, yet colorful, variant on the Union norm. Incidentally, field glasses were not issued by regulation to Yankee officers, and most provided their own. Officers inflicted very few wounds on their foes in this war, and despite the menacing Remington revolver in his hand, this field officer of the 39th New York "Garibaldi Guard" is likely no exception. The 39th was initially comprised recent immigrants, most of them deliberately selected from those who had served with Giuseppe Garibaldi and other revolutionary armies in Europe. As a result, when the unit was raised, the soldiers average age was somewhat higher than average for the Union Army, while they came from so many different European countries, including France, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Spain, that the regiment was unofficially nicknamed "Lincoln's Foreign Legion." Known for their distinctive name and uniform, the 39th New York Infantry served with the Army of the Potomac, in the Shenandoah and in the defenses of Washington. Raised in May 1861 in New York City, it was the first "three-year regiment" raised in the state.

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