Zouaves and Militia Units

By the mid 19th Century, the French Army had a tremendous influence on military dress worldwide, especially in America. The traditional bond with the United States forged during the American Revolution, when France supported the fledging country in its

This distinctive looking officer circa 1855, wears epaulettes and what appears to be a non-regulation large bow tie. His trousers seem to follow the rather straight cut of the 1850s and his shako on the table beside him has a feather plume and eagle insignia. The unidentified officer is probably an officer with a militia unit and the sword he carries is an 1820s pattern. Possibly it may even have been handed down to him. David Scheinmann.

Army 1820s Uniform

fight for independence, and later the glowing reputation of French troops in the Crimea, was particularly noticeable in the many exotic French style uniforms worn by Northern volunteers. The most famous of these volunteer units were the many Northern Zouave regiments and companies, based on the famed Zouaves of the French Army whose reckless exploits during the Crimean War had won them much fame.

The original Zouaves were natives of the Zouaoua tribe of North Africa, particularly noted for their bravery who together with some French settlers were formed into two battalions and served with the French i Army during France's North African campaigns in the 1830s. By the time of the Crimean War the ranks of the Zouaves were filled entirely by Frenchmen. Three Zouave regiments of the line had been created and a regiment of Imperial Guard Zouaves was raised in 1855. Union General George B. McClellan, who as a captain had been an American observer in the Crimea, called Zouaves the 'beau ideal of a soldier'.

On the eve of the American Civil War, a Zouave craze swept America started by Elmer E. Ellsworth, a penniless law student and military enthusiast who was 1 so enthralled by the stories of Zouave exploits told to him by Charles A. DeVllliers, a former French Army surgeon who had served with a Zouave regiment in the Crimea, that he decided to form his own Zouave unit from a company of the Illinois State Militia. Several Zouave companies such as the company found

Opposite.

Unidentified Zouave, thought to be a member of the Phoenix Zouaves, a short lived Irish- American Zouave unit founded by Thomas Francis Meagher, who went on to form the Irish Zouaves of Company K, the 69th New York State Militia. For many years, illustrations of the uniform worn by Company K of the 69th have been erroneously based on those worn by the Phoenix Zouaves; but Company K never wore such elaborately decorated vests under their jackets. Michael J. McAfee.

Zouaves New YorkEarly Sack Jacket Germany

This photograph of a 5th New Yorker was taken early in the war. Note the private's rolled blanket kept on top of his knapsack, and the badge, possibly his company's letter, on the front of his fez. There also appears to be another badge or piece of insignia attached to the front of his jacket. This man is completely uniformed and equipped ready for campaign, an enviable state for many soldiers as the war progressed. Brian C. Pohanka.

in the Gardes Lafeyette, a militia unit largely composed of French immigrants in New York, already existed in America; but Ellsworth and his men who

Hand tinted photo of a private of the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry, Duryee's Zouaves, the epitome of an exotically clad union volunteer. He has wrapped a turban around his fez and the fact that the tassel on the private's fez is very short and he's not wearing jambieres (leather greaves) over his white gaiters, indicates that this is a photograph also taken early in the war. Martin L. Schoenfeld.

grandly called themselves the United States Zouave Cadets enthralled the public during a drill display tour of East Coast cities in 1860.

Ellsworth later raised the 11 th New York

New Yorker Volunteer Infantry

Volunteer Infantry, a unit of tough New York firemen who proudly called themselves Fire Zouaves, but Ellsworth and his men were destined not to see much glory. In Alexandria, Virginia, Ellsworth was gunned down and killed when he tried to remove a Confederate flag from a tavern and his dispirited men broke and ran when they came under heavy artillery fire at First Bull Run.

The classic French Zouave uniform was an adaptation of native North African dress comprising a fez, outlandish baggy trousers, and a short jacket worn over a shirt vest. The jacket was ornamented with trefoil designs called tombeaux on each side of the chest. The uniforms of American Zouaves varied from almost exact copies of French Zouave uniforms to wide interpretations of the Zouave style.

Ellsworth's first unit, the United States Zouave Cadets, wore no less than three styles of uniforms, but they were loosely based on French Chasseur uniforms and bore little resemblance to true Zouave uniforms, a point noted at the time in a report about the United States Zouave Cadets in the French newspaper Courier des Etats Unis: 'These Zouaves are, however, three quarters contraband. Their uniform has nothing, or rather very little of the uniform of the French corps whose name they have adopted.'

A company of the 5th New York photographed at their camp near Fortress Monroe, Virginia, in the summer of 1861. When British War correspondent, William Howard Russell, saw the 5th on parade he claimed that many of them were not wearing fezzes, but just turbans that looked like discoloured napkins wrapped around their heads, giving them a less than soldierly appearance. Brian C. Pohanka.

The same can be said of the New York Fire Zouaves, the second unit raised by Ellsworth, who were originally outfitted in grey jackets of a Chasseur pattern, and blue trousers. The jackets quickly wore out but the men kept their blue trousers and were issued with fezzes and blue waist sashes. A distinctive feature of the Fire Zouaves' uniforms were the red firemen's shirts they proudly wore. The men also shaved their heads like the French Zouaves.

Nearly every Northern State or town boasted Zouaves, even out West in Indiana, where the most famous Zouave regiment was Wallace's Zouaves founded by Colonel Lew Wallace, who was later to find fame as the author of the novel Ben Hur. Wallace was greatly impressed with the Zouave ideal, but as a devout Christian he didn't want his men dressed in Moslem clothing as represented by the true Zouave uniform, so his men were orginally dressed in grey

Confederate Sack Coat Dark Gray

Lieutenant Colonel Noah Lane Farnham, the second commander of the 11th New York Volunteer Infantry, wears the grey Fire Zouaves officers' uniform. A stripe which was gold edged red is just visible on the seam of his trousers and the shoulder straps on his grey double breasted field officer's frock coat are dark blue with red edging. Farnham's pose for this portrait shot is remarkably casual, especially with his coat left open revealing his shirt. In mourning for Elmer E. Ellsworth, the Fire Zouaves' first commander who was gunned down in an Alexandria Tavern, Farnham wears a black armband. Brian C. Pohanka.

Lieutenant Colonel Noah Lane Farnham, the second commander of the 11th New York Volunteer Infantry, wears the grey Fire Zouaves officers' uniform. A stripe which was gold edged red is just visible on the seam of his trousers and the shoulder straps on his grey double breasted field officer's frock coat are dark blue with red edging. Farnham's pose for this portrait shot is remarkably casual, especially with his coat left open revealing his shirt. In mourning for Elmer E. Ellsworth, the Fire Zouaves' first commander who was gunned down in an Alexandria Tavern, Farnham wears a black armband. Brian C. Pohanka.

Opposite.

Reconstruction of a 5th New York, Duryée's Zouaves, on campaign 1862. This uniform with the distinctive red tombeaux on the chest separate from the red trim, is the third uniform issued to the regiment in February 1862 and the one most closely associated with the unit. The baggy trousers of the first uniform issued to Duryée's Zouaves featured blue trim around the pockets. Trousers issued later, like the ones worn in this picture, were plain. Paul Smith.

Chasseur pattern uniforms.

The most authentically dressed Union Zouave regiment was the famed 5th New York, Duryée's Zouaves. War observer General Prim of the Spanish Army said they looked exactly like the French 2nd Regiment of Zouaves after he inspected them.

The regiment was commanded by Colonel Abram Duryée, a big name in New York militia affairs. It was said that the 5th decided to adopt a full Zouave uniform when Felix Agnus a veteran of the French 2nd Regiment of Zouaves who had emigrated to America, wore his Zouave uniform when he enlisted with the Advance Guard, as Duryée's Zouaves were first known.

Regimental historian, Alfred Davenport, left this account of the 5th's uniform: 'A more picturesquely unique and fantastical costume could scarcely be conceived. The breeches were wide flowing Zouave pants of a bright red, narrow and pleated at the top, wide at the bottom and baggy in the rear. These were topped with a broad sash of the same colour edged with blue tape and falling nearly to the knee on the left side. The jacket was of a coarse blue material, trimmed with red tape, short, loose, low-necked and collarless and running in front. The shirts were of the same material with a broad stripe of red down the bosom. The leggings were heavy white canvas, buttoned to the knee and the shoes were clumsy, square toed scows. The caps were close-fitting red fezzes turned back from the top of the head, to which was attached a cord with a blue tassel that dangled down in the middle of the back.'

Some 5th New Yorkers complained that the first issue of uniforms was not of the best quality and poorly made, especially the baggy trousers which were cut too high in the calf, but the tailoring firm who made the uniforms said that some Zouaves were wearing ordinary trousers under the baggy pants which affected the drape. However, they did agree to lengthen the last 125 pairs they delivered by two inches.

The 5th New York's fezzes were manufactured by the Seamless Clothing Company and were of red felt

Ellsworth Chicago ZouvesThe Highland Chaplain 1820

As befits his formal role, Gordon Winslow, the chaplain of the 5th New York wears the standard 5th New York officers' frockcoat with the waist sash that officers were ordered to wear in regimental orders made in May, 1861. His gauntlets though might have been a private purchase. Winslow's life ended tragically when he fell overboard from a steamer as he brought his wounded son, Cleveland, home. Cleveland had been a captain in the 5th New York before raising the 5th New York Veteran Volunteers. Brian C. Pohanka.

Mexican War Amputations

This grisly amputation scene is in fact a fake staged by 5th New York personnel. The officer wears a regulation dark blue frockcoat and note the elaborate gold braid decorations on his kepi. Photo spoofs like this, were not uncommon in the early war years. Brian C. Pohanka.

with a blue tassel. For ordinary wear the tassel was left to fall to the shoulder, but in action the cord could be drawn up through the fez to stop it getting in the way. For parade or as a matter of choice in the field, Zouaves wore white turbans around their fezzes. Despite its colourful uniforms, there were times when the 5th New York which served from 1861 to 1863, looked shabby. Indeed stories that Union soldiers were invariably better dressed than their Southern foes are a myth. As the experiences of the 5th (continued on p. 23)

Opposite.

Lorenzo Clark poses in the uniform worn by the Zouave company of the 74th New York Volunteer Infantry. Like Company K of the 69th New York, or Company B of the 13th Regiment New York State Militia, it was not unusual for a single company in a volunteer unit to wear Zouave dress. But not only did the 74th's Zouave company have ornate tombeuax designs on its jackets, they had tombeaux designs on either side of their vests, visible in this photo. Michael J. McAfee.

Michael John McafeeConfederate Zuave Captain Uniform

Above.

Distinctive 'flower' tombeaux were a feature of the Zouave uniforms worn by many Zouave regiments from Indiana and other parts of the West. Private A.G. Garrett of the 34th Indiana Veteran Volunteer Infantry, wears a jacket which has a 'false vest' sewn into it. His sleeves carry diagnonal veteran's stripes, showing that Garrett signed up again after his original time of service expired. Michael J. McAfee.

Above Right.

James E. Taylor served with the 10th New York Volunteer Infantry, National Zouaves, until 1863. The 10th had quite a bewildering variety of uniforms during its existence, and in this photograph Taylor wears the distinctive dark blue kacket and light blue trousers of the 10th's last issued uniform. His trousers are tucked into white gaiters. Michael J. McAfee.

Opposite.

This sergeant of the 9th New York Volunteer Infantry, Hawkins' Zouaves, wears the uniform that became the standard issue Zouave uniform issued by the Army. The jackets were dark blue trimmed red and the matching dark blue trousers had ornamental red designs around the pockets. Either black or white gaiters were worn. Michael J. McAfee.

Confederate Dark GaitersChicago Zouave Cadets2nd Wisconsin Regiment

2nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Iron Brigade, Brawner's Farm, August 1862.

Comprising regiments from Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan, the Iron Brigade was one of the most famous units of the American Civil War. During its time of service, the 2nd Wisconsin, who started the war in grey uniforms at First Bull Run, had the greatest number of deaths in battle of any regiment in the Union Army. One out of every five of its men never returned home.

The hatless private kneeling down is wearing an ordinary sack coat, the last resort of soldiers in many 'specialist' regiments whose uniforms were worn out or lost on campaign. The figures next to him wear the typical frock coats of the Iron Brigade and Hardee hats. These hats were ornamented with feather plumes, worn on either side, but under campaign conditions, many didn't last very long and were thrown away when they became tatty. However, based on evidence in contemporary photographs of Iron Brigade soldiers with plumes in their hats some months after their uniforms were issued, the soldiers illustrated in this plate have them. Many Iron Brigade soldiers like the two privates pictured here, wore brass eagle badges to secure the turned up sides of their hats. Most hats featured the infantry's distinctive bugle horn insignia worn on the front.

The 2nd Wisconsin lieutenant wears regulation officer's dress but instead of the Hardee also favoured by many officers of the Iron Brigade, he wears a forage cap. The lieutenant carries a .44 colt Army revolver and brandishes an imported German sword, the same pattern as an English rifle officer's sword of 1827 with a gothic hilt. Painting by Chris Collingwood.

Above.

Ellsworth's United States Zouave Cadets excited audiences with their theatrical drill displays on a grand tour in 1860. Here, they are pictured in their 'Zouave dress' which they wore for drill performances; one of four different styles of uniform the unit wore in its brief existence on the eve of the Civil War. The exact design on the Zouaves' shirts has puzzled many military historians. Contemporary photographs of the Zouave Cadets do not show it up well, but it appears to be a delicate floral pattern and the Zouaves' red trousers had a thin strip of gold running down the seams. The United States Zouave Cadets also wore a full dress uniform with white cross belts, a blue cap, blue frock coat and blue grey trousers. Both the frock coat and trousers were trimmed with buff piped red. A third style of uniform, the cadets' 'Chasseur dress', matched the frock coat with the red caps and red trousers of their Zouave dress. Peter Newark's Military Pictures.

Peter Newark Military Pictures

Above.

Private Lee Matthews of the 76th Ohio Volunteer Infantry wears a particularly elaborate Zouave jacket, a style which was also worn by by the 53rd Ohio. This curious tombeaux design was one of the most elaborate of the Civil War.

Michael J. McAfee.

Above Right.

This Corporal of the 140th New York Volunteer Infantry, also probably saw some particularly hard fighting in the Wilderness Campaign in the later stages of the War. The 140th's uniform was dark blue trimmed red and the soldier's false vest sewn

Opposite.

The 155th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry wore a dark blue uniform with distinctive yellow tombeaux designs that show up well in this photograph of a private clutching his fez as he rests his hand on a studio prop. The arm wound this private received, might have been as a result of the terrible fight the 155th Pennsylvania took part in during the Wilderness Campaign. Michael J. McAfee.

into the lining of his jacket, is clearly visible in this phototograph. The buckle on his waist belt is most likely a standard 'U.S.' or 'SNY' buckle. Michael J. McAfee.

Highlander Waist BuckleDrummer Boy Uniforms 18th New York Infantry

A company of the 164th New York Volunteer Infantry look particularly fine on parade in uniforms patterned after those originally worn by Hawkins' Zouaves. Note the drummer boy also attired as a Zouave at the far left of the picture. Despite romantic stories of courage, drummer boys rarely accompanied their regiment into the thick of battle, but were usually ordered to fall out a safe distance from combat. Michael J. McAfee.

New York show, hard campaigning took its toll on both armies.

The 5th was mustered into the United States service on May 9 1861 and its uniforms were in a sorry state by the time the regiment arrived for a period of garrison duty in Baltimore Maryland in July 1861. Regimental historian Alfred Davenport wrote: 'Our men looked shabby, some of the uniforms being absolutely worthless.' In a letter to the Secretary of War dated July 27 1861 the regiment's commander Abram Duryee pleaded for something to be done about his men's clothing, writing: ' The uniforms furnished to us are nearly worn out and in a ruined condition.'

New uniforms for the regiment eventually arrived in September 1861, but they were not of good quality. Lieutenant Colonel Gouverneur Kemble Warren of the 5th bitterly complained that the linings of the

Opposite.

The 34th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, the Piatt Zouaves were renowned for wearing 18th century-style tricorne hats as part of their Zouave uniform but this ungainly looking duo prefer to wear fezzes. The jackets, which appear to be dark blue trimmed red, seem to be of a Chasseur style cut. Michael J. McAfee.

A company of the 164th New York Volunteer Infantry look particularly fine on parade in uniforms patterned after those originally worn by Hawkins' Zouaves. Note the drummer boy also attired as a Zouave at the far left of the picture. Despite romantic stories of courage, drummer boys rarely accompanied their regiment into the thick of battle, but were usually ordered to fall out a safe distance from combat. Michael J. McAfee.

jackets were made out of a material that shrank and pulled the jackets out of shape if they became wet. New uniforms were issued in September 1861, but the following year the Zouaves were in a bad way again. Alfred Davenport left this description in a letter: 'Our regiment is ragged and ununiformed, wearing all kinds of clothes, they might either dress us up in our regular Zouave suit or give us the regulation uniform, the latter is much better for service, warmer and neater, but they seem disposed to give us neither, therefore we should have been naked long ago had we not bought pants from the regulars and other regiments who have plenty to spare.'

Despite these deprivations, the 5th New York and its successor regiments the 5th New York Veteran Battalion and the 165th New York, Second Battalion Duryée Zouaves, had admirable service records. Civil

Another view of the 164th, this time relaxing in camp with their arms stacked. It is claimed that the 164th had green tassels on their fezzes to show off their proud Irish heritage. Uniforms like these worn by the 164th, saw service with many National Guard Units in the years after the war had ended. Michael J. McAfee.

War Zouave regiments have sometimes been dismissed as nine day wonders, but they were active throughout the conflict. The uniform of the 9th New York Volunteer Infantry, Hawkins' Zouaves, with its dark blue trousers and dark blue jacket became the United States Quartermaster Department standard issue Zouave uniform worn by other regiments including the 164th New York. Surplus 9th New York Hawkins' Zouaves uniforms were also worn by some post war Militia units.

A regiment was even raised to honour Elmer Ellsworth, the man who had done so much to popularise Zouaves in America before his untimely death. Patriotic citizens of the Ellsworth Association nominated candidates for the 44th New York Volunteer Infantry, who were known as the People's Ellsworth Regiment or by the more spectacular title, Ellsworth's Avengers. Soldiers in the regiment had to be under 30 and stand not less than 5ft eight inches tall.

Their Zouave uniform comprising dark blue jackets and trousers and a red shirt trimmed blue was heavily influenced by the clothing worn by another unit the Albany Zouave Cadets. The men also received the standard regulation New York fatigue uniform of short dark blue jacket and sky blue trousers, but photos of enlisted men taken in Alexandria, Virginia in 1864 show them still wearing their popular Zouave dress.

Pennsylvania provided some fine Zouave regiments, notably the 114th Pennsylvania, the Collis Zouaves. In August 1861 Captain H. T. Collis raised a company of Zouaves called the Zouaves d'Afrique to act as bodyguard for General Nathaniel Banks and then he was commissioned to raise a full regiment of Zouaves, the 114th Pennsylvania. Collis Zouave musician Frank Rauscher described the uniform in his book Music On The March: 'The uniform adopted for the regiment was precisely like that of the original company - red pants, Zouave jacket, white leggings blue sash around the waist and white turbans, which pricked up the pride of the new recruits and gave the regiment an imposing and warlike appearance. The material for these uniforms was all imported from France, and special arrangements were made to secure a sufficient supply of the same to replenish the uniforms during the whole term of service.' It seems though that late in the war the men were forced to wear ordinary sky blue kersey trousers because supplies of scarlet cloth imported from France had run out.

During 1863 and 1864, the Union Army decided to transform three regiments who had been clad in ordinary army dress into Zouaves as a reward for their proficiency at drill and to maintain a Zouave esprit de corps. The regiments receiving these uniforms were the 146th New York in June 1863 and the 140th and 155th Pennsylvania who were issued with Zouave uniforms in the early part of 1864. 'The cloth is by far better material than any clothes issued before' wrote a private of the 140th New York. 'It is of good quality -the dark blue trimmed with red.'

The new uniforms were particularly welcome to the men of the 155th Pennsylvania who had begun

These men of the 14th Brooklyn who had been baptised by fire at First Bull Run a few months before this photograph was taken, have the look of veterans and wear their uniforms accordingly. Note the narrowness of their Chasseur pattern trousers as compared with the fuller trousers worn by Zouave regiments and the fact that many of the men are not wearing the unit's characteristic gaiters. Author's collection.

Red Leg Gray Sack Michigan

The men of 14th Regiment New York Sate Militia, the famous Red-legged Devils from Brooklyn, wore these distinctive kepis with red tops from the beginning of the war to the end. Many soldiers fixed brass numerals to the front, although judging from many contemporary photographs this practice doesn't seem to have been as widespread as previously thought. This kepi was worn during the war and the red dot in the centre of the top, is the badge of the 1st Corps in which the 14th Brooklyn served. Martin L. Schoenfeld.

The men of 14th Regiment New York Sate Militia, the famous Red-legged Devils from Brooklyn, wore these distinctive kepis with red tops from the beginning of the war to the end. Many soldiers fixed brass numerals to the front, although judging from many contemporary photographs this practice doesn't seem to have been as widespread as previously thought. This kepi was worn during the war and the red dot in the centre of the top, is the badge of the 1st Corps in which the 14th Brooklyn served. Martin L. Schoenfeld.

14th Brooklyn Infantry SoldierWhite Officers 14th Usci[photos

Officers of the 14th Brooklyn wore regulation plain dark blue frock coats and red trousers with a gold stripe running down the outer seams of their trousers. Most of the officers in this photograph appear to be wearing kepis the same style as their men's, but decorated with gold braid. Some are wearing slouch hats and one officer, sitting on the bottom right of the picture, appears to be wearing a straw hat. Author's collection.

Officers of the 14th Brooklyn wore regulation plain dark blue frock coats and red trousers with a gold stripe running down the outer seams of their trousers. Most of the officers in this photograph appear to be wearing kepis the same style as their men's, but decorated with gold braid. Some are wearing slouch hats and one officer, sitting on the bottom right of the picture, appears to be wearing a straw hat. Author's collection.

their service in 1862 wearing shapeless long blue coats. 'The exchange to the Zouave uniform from the plain blue infantry uniform was enjoyed immensely,' wrote the 155th's regimental historian. Although they now proudly called themselves Zouaves, the men of the 146th New York were issued with a light blue uniform of the style worn by the Tirailleurs Algériens or Turcos of the French army, native North African troops whose record equalled that of the Zouaves. The 146th's trousers lacked quite the same bagginess as Zouave trousers, but the men were happy with their dashing uniforms, which had been manufactured under the personal supervision of their commander, Colonel Kenner Garrard.

Frequently mistaken for Zouaves because of their red trousers, the 14th Regiment New York State Militia, better known by their spectacular title the Red Legged Devils from Brooklyn, were one of a number of Union militia units whose uniform was inspired by the dress of the Chasseurs a pied of the French Army. This smart, comfortable uniform, was adopted by a regimental board of officers in 1860, replacing the 14th's old uniforms that had included blue frock coats.

Some of the 14th's distinctive dark blue jackets had 'false vests' sewn into them. The buttons down the front of the jackets were ornamental and only the vests could be buttoned up, drawing the edges of the jacket closer together. Other types of jackets worn by the 14th didn't have the false vest sewn in at all, but a waistcoat like garment worn under the jacket that fastened at the side and had a line of decorative buttons along the front. Red Austrian knots worn on the shoulders were a prominent feature of 14th Brooklyn jackets early in the war, but many were removed later, possibly because they got in the way and were impractical.

It looked as if the entire Union Army might be dressed in Chasseur uniforms if an experiment outfitting selected infantry regiments in Chasseur dress worked out. In August 1861, Montgomery Meigs the Quartermaster General of the United States Army, sent a letter to the United States embassy in Paris, requesting that the Ambassador order 10,000 complete sets of Chasseur uniforms and equipment for

Officers Golden Button Crimean War

This 14th Brooklyn private wears the 15 button version of the regiment's jacket which unlike other jackets didn't incorporate a sewn-in false vest. Underneath his jacket this man would wear a Zouave style vest which buttoned up at the side. The buttons down the front of the vest are purely decorative. Martin L. Schoenfeld.

The letters on the forage cap worn by this proud American Chasseur are difficult to make out, but undoubtedly they are the numbers of one of the regiments who were awarded the prize of wearing Chasseur a pied uniforms especially imported from France, because of their prowess at drill. This soldier's elaborately plumed full dress shako is just visible on the table beside him. It's often claimed that many of the imported uniforms were too small for strapping American volunteers to wear, but this private fills his uniform comfortably. David Scheinmann.

This 14th Brooklyn private wears the 15 button version of the regiment's jacket which unlike other jackets didn't incorporate a sewn-in false vest. Underneath his jacket this man would wear a Zouave style vest which buttoned up at the side. The buttons down the front of the vest are purely decorative. Martin L. Schoenfeld.

Union soldiers. The firm of M. Alexis Godillot was contracted to supply the uniforms and accoutrements including French regulation knapsacks and the entire consignment was shipped to New York within four months of the order being placed.

The best regiments in a brigade drill competition held in Fitz John Porter's Division in the Army of the Potomac, were selected to receive the uniforms and the winners were the 62nd Pennsylvania in the 1st Brigade, the 18th ¿Massachusetts in the 2nd Brigade and the 83rd Pennsylvania in the 3rd Brigade. 'Our boys are overjoyed at their good fortune and the colonel says we will have to work hard to keep up our reputation,' wrote one of the uniform recipients in 1861. The Chasseur uniform was the regulation I860 French light infantry uniform, with a dark blue coat trimmed yellow and ornamented with dark green epaulettes. The full dress cap was leather and a French forage cap was also supplied. Other items included a

The letters on the forage cap worn by this proud American Chasseur are difficult to make out, but undoubtedly they are the numbers of one of the regiments who were awarded the prize of wearing Chasseur a pied uniforms especially imported from France, because of their prowess at drill. This soldier's elaborately plumed full dress shako is just visible on the table beside him. It's often claimed that many of the imported uniforms were too small for strapping American volunteers to wear, but this private fills his uniform comfortably. David Scheinmann.

fatigue jacket, a hooded jacket known as a talma, and white gloves.

The uniform looked spectacular but overall proved to be a disappointment. The average sized Frenchman being smaller than the average American, many of the uniforms proved to be too small, but this problem was alleviated in some cases by putting gussets in the seams. It's debatable whether any complete uniforms were worn in combat, but a soldier of the 83rd at the siege of Yorktown in the summer of 1862 is reported to have had the tassel shot off his cap. Although the 83rd was ordered to put its uniforms into storage in March 1862, it seems some soldiers may have kept 'souvenirs' to wear in the field. Many of the Chasseur uniforms were later 'cannibalised' to provide some of

How Wear Sash Uniform Csa

The popular Chasseur pattern of dress is again reflected in the uniform worn by this young private of the 12th New York State Militia, although the bagginess of his trousers is almost Zouave style. This man wears russet or tan coloured gaiters and his regiment's numbers are visible on the front of his light blue kepi. Mustered in for three months at the beginning of the war, the 12th New York never saw much active service. David Scheinmann.

The popular Chasseur pattern of dress is again reflected in the uniform worn by this young private of the 12th New York State Militia, although the bagginess of his trousers is almost Zouave style. This man wears russet or tan coloured gaiters and his regiment's numbers are visible on the front of his light blue kepi. Mustered in for three months at the beginning of the war, the 12th New York never saw much active service. David Scheinmann.

the Zouave uniforms for the 155th Pennsylvania. The capes supplied with the uniforms were converted into Zouave jackets and some of the trousers were even converted into Voluminous Zouave pantaloons.

When he originally ordered the uniforms, Quartermaster Meigs wrote that he hoped that they would 'serve as models and will doubtless introduce many improvements in our service,' but he was to be proved wrong. The following year there was a further upsurge in interest in Chasseur uniforms, when it was proposed by a military board that the whole army should be outfitted in them, but the proposal was dropped. It was solely volunteer regiments that brought exotic touches to the Union army.

During the American Civil War, the ethnic background of soldiers was often reflected in the uniforms they wore. Cities teeming with immigrants were full of first or second generation Americans determined to prove their loyalty to their new country, but also anxious not to forget the ties with the military heritage of the places they came from. The 39th New York Volunteers, who were known as the the Garibaldi Guard, were named after the famous Italian patriot and modelled their uniforms on those worn by the famed Italian Light Infantry, the Bersaglieri. The men adopted the famous Bersaglieri hats with a plume of cock feathers and they proudly fixed the initials 'GG' on the front.

The 79th Regiment, New York State Militia was composed largely of men of Scottish ancestry who specifically requested that they be designated the 79th Regiment to establish ties with the British 79th Regiment, the Cameron Highlanders. In the 79th New York's regimental history it was recorded that in October 1860 the men were wearing: 'handsome State jackets with red facings, blue fatigue caps and Cameron tartan pants.'

The men were also later outfitted in kilts for their full dress uniforms. The regiment was mustered into service in early 1861 and had a fine pipe band. But despite being nicknamed the 'Cameron Highlanders' 'Highland Guard' and 'Bannockburn Battalion', it's unlikely that many if any of the 79th wore their kilts or trews at First Bull Run. For some inexplicable reason the men were ordered to lay aside their kilts and trews before the regiment marched into Virginia. Photos later in the war though, do show some members of the 79th in trews and it can be assumed that they were worn on later campaigns.

New York's huge Irish community was represented in the 69th New York State Militia, but romantic tales of the regiment wearing jackets with emerald green cuffs and collars, although mentioned in many accounts about the Civil War, arc myth. In 1851 the regiment adopted a green tail coat with a shako but in 1858 when they were designated as an artillery

Garibaldi Guards Civil War

The 39th New York Volunteers, the famed Garibaldi Guard, parade past President Lincoln. Their authentic copies of the dress worn by the Italian Bersaglieri were some of the most striking uniforms of the war, but on campaign many of the men wore forage caps and red shirts. As shown in this picture, the 39th carried no less than three colours. They not only had the usual national and regimental colours, but carried additional unofficial colours based on the red, white and green design of the Italian National flag. Peter Newark's Military Pictures.

regiment serving as light infantry they wore a New York regulation single breasted dark blue coat.

At First Bull Run many members of the regiment fought in their shirtsleeves and some following Gaelic warrior customs even fought in bare feet. The only really distinctive uniforms worn in the 69th were those worn by Company K who were called the Irish Zouaves or Meagher's Zouaves after their founder, Thomas Francis Meagher, an Irish dissident. Meagher's men wore dark blue jackets and vests trimmed red but their caps and trousers were the same pattern as the rest of the regiment.

The only distinctly Irish part of the uniform was a green waist sash. Company K only wore their colourful uniforms at Bull Run, for the rest of the war they wore standard infantry clothing like their comrades. At Fredericksburg in 1862, Meagher who now commanded the Irish Brigade of which the 69th became a part, ordered his men to put green sprigs of boxwood in their forage caps to distinguish them from the other Union troops.

There was a bewildering variety of dress in many other militia units on the eve of the war. The Putman Phalanx who were organised in Connecticut in 1858 modelled their uniforms on those worn by the George Washington's Bodyguard during the American Revolution and their dress included tricorne hats. A similar costume was adopted by Ruggles 51st New York State Militia who formed the basis of the 12th New York Infantry, but its doubtful that such antiquarian dress ever saw combat. The Boston Light Infantry who were known as the Tiger Regiment wore black bearskin busbies with a blue plume and gold tassel. Bearskin busbies were a popular feature of many militia units including the Chicago Light Guard, the New York City Guard and the Connecticut Governor's Footguard whose bearskins featured a peak and a resplendent brass cap badge. Many Irish militia regiments criticised the units who wore them, saying that as British Guards units were outfitted with them they were a sign of British oppression. They must have forgotten that the British Army had copied its bearskin

79th New York Volunteer Infantry

This private of the 79th New York Volunteer Infantry wears the Scottish full dress of his regiment, including a kilt made out of Cameron of Erracht tartan. For undress, tartan trews were also worn, but trying to find supplies of enough tartan to outfit the entire regiment proved to be a problem. On June 2 1861, when the regiment paraded in Baltimore, one journalist reported that the crowd who had come out to see the 79th in their Scottish uniforms was disappointed because only a third of the regiment were outfitted in Scottish dress. Michael J. McAfee.

7th New York State Militia

Colonel Dan Butterfield of the 12th New York State Militia wears his trousers tucked into his gaiters, a habit popular with his entire command. David Scheinmann.

busbies from those worn by Grenadiers in the French Garde Imperiale.

One of the best known American militia units was the Albany Burgesses Corps, formed when leading citizens in Albany petitioned the governor of New York state to form an independent artillery company. The dress coat of the Albany Burgesses Corps was a magnificent scarlet double breasted tailcoat which had

114th New York Volunteers

Top right.

Private of the 114th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry wears his fez like a skull cap. The cuffs on the 114th's jackets register white or buff in period photos, but they were really light blue in colour. Martin LSchoenfeld.

1st Lieutenant Thomas Cartwright wears the regulation uniform of Duryee's Zouaves, the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry. Cartwright died of wounds received at Gaines' Mill in 1862. New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs.

Top right.

Private of the 114th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry wears his fez like a skull cap. The cuffs on the 114th's jackets register white or buff in period photos, but they were really light blue in colour. Martin LSchoenfeld.

Right.

The tombeaux designs of the 146th New York Volunteer Infantry show up well in this photograph but like yellow embroidery in most period photographs, they've registered black. This private wears a checked shirt under his jacket. Checked shirts were popular in the Civil War. Martin L. Schoenfeld.

two rows of buttons bearing the letters 'ABC'. Coat tails were turned back and lined white and had a four button pocket flap. Officers wore gold fringed epaulettes with the ABC monogram on the crescent, but apparently the men in the ranks had ones of white worsted.

Line officers and enlisted men wore their black

1st Lieutenant Thomas Cartwright wears the regulation uniform of Duryee's Zouaves, the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry. Cartwright died of wounds received at Gaines' Mill in 1862. New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs.

5th Regiment Col Duryea
Lieutenant Colonel Hiram Duryea of the 5th New York flourishes his gaudily decorated kepi. Renowned as a man who could be cool in a crisis he didn't even flinch when a shell came close to exploding underneath his horse during one battle. New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs.

bearskin caps for full dress and each bearskin had a gold tassel on the front. Staff officers wore a black full dress chapeau with a black leather plume and gold lace cockade. As an undress uniform the chapeau was replaced with a dark blue cap which had a red and black pompon, held by an elaborate brass ornament bearing the state coat of arms of an embroidered 'NY' within a wreath. In the summer, white linen trousers were worn for parades, otherwise the men wore woollen trousers. The equipment of the Albany Burgesses Corps was equally as sumptuous. Their waistbelts carried a buckle with the initials 'ABC' picked out and their black bayonet scabbards and cartridge boxes were of the finest leather. The Burgesses Corps also had a fatigue uniform which was similar to the regulation United States Army frock coat except the frock coats of the Albany Burgesses Corps were indigo in colour.

The Cincinatti Rover Guards who became part of the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry had an entire dress

Greyback Confederate Soldier Uniform
Lieutenant W. H. Gurney wears the uniform of the 7th New York State Militia. This picture was taken in Washington in 1861, shortly after the 7th were the first regiment to arrive to 'save the Capital'. David Scheinmann.

uniform made out of scarlet cloth. The coats were trimmed light buff and the trousers had a broad buff stripe on the seam trimmed with gold lace. Caps were regulation but they had a special visor made out of burnished and lacquered leather, richly decorated with a gold embroidered bugle, a star and eagle and the initials CRG. Plumes on the helmets were red tipped white. Cross belts were white and the belt plate for the cross belts was of burnished gilt brass and featured a five pointed star motif. Waistbelts were lacquered, with the initials CRG in burnished metal. The Cincinatti Rover Guards didn't wear its magnificent uniforms all the time. For fatigues, the men wore a less spectacular uniform which had a dark blue jacket, a cap trimmed with red cord and black trousers.

The 22nd Regiment, New York State Militia, was funded by banking and insurance companies in the city who were worried about the departure of so many of New York's militia units who were being posted away to defend Washington. The 22nd New York State Militia wore a grey single breasted frock coat edged with a red collar and cuffs trimmed with white piping. Trousers which were tucked into yellow leather leggings were also grey with a red stripe edged with white piping down the seams. Kepis were grey with a red band and top, which was again edged with white piping. Because of their gaudy trimming the men became known as the Strawberry Greys. For the first year of the war, the 22nd was stationed in New York City but inevitably it was ordered South and was stationed for a time at Harper's Ferry. By this time, though, the regiment had sent home its distinctive grey coats and wore standard regulation army sack coats.

The 1st Regiment Rhode Island Detached ¡Militia wore unusual long blue blouses ending just above the knee, which were not unlike British 18th and 19th century farmers' smocks. The most distinctive part of the regiment's uniform were the rolled red blankets that every man carried. Ambrose E. Burnside, who had organised the regiment and went on to have a particularly disastrous career as a general later in the war, designed the uniforms and according to observers in Washington 'the absence of smart trappings made the unit look ready for business'. Burnside, who seems to have been infinitely better as a tailor than a general, also modified the men's blankets. Each blanket had a hole cut in the centre so that the men could wear them as ponchos and this was particularly welcome in cold weather.

The men of the Second Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteer Militia, began the war wearing 'claw hammer' or 'spiketail' coatees which were almost Napoleonic in style and gave the regiment a particularly distinctive look. Their trousers had a broad red stripe down the seams.

The 71st Regiment New York State Alilitia elected to wear smart frock coats of the 'national colour' dark blue. The regiment's personnel were native born Americans who saw the increasing number of militia regiments formed from immigrants as a threat. New York's most esteemed militia regiment, the 7th New York State Militia which dated back to 1806, wore a full dress and fatigue uniform both of grey and were

75th Volunteers Martin Schoenfeld
The 75th New York Volunteers had a curious almost nautical style of piping around the cuffs of their jackets, as shown on the jacket of this private. Martin L. Schoenfeld.

known as the 'Old Greybacks'. The fatigue jacket comprised a shorter jacket with black cuffs. The 7th had for a time been commanded by Abram Duryee, who had gone on to found the famed Duryee's Zouaves. Although never seeing combat itself, many of the 7th's officers went on to distinguished careers with other regiments. In Philadelphia the Scott Legion formed from veterans of the Mexican War who had last seen service from 1846 to 1848, wore the regulation Mexican war uniform including sky blue shell jackets and dark blue forage caps.

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Responses

  • myla
    Where to find zouave jambieres?
    6 years ago
  • Bisrat
    How to draw a confederate soldier?
    6 years ago
  • murdo
    Did the zouave sash have tassel?
    6 years ago
  • delfino
    When were sack coats issued during the civil war?
    6 years ago
  • taneli
    Did 69th irish brigade wear sny buckle?
    6 years ago
  • duenna
    Which union units wore chausser uniforms?
    6 years ago
  • amalda
    How to draw a confederate soldier uniform?
    6 years ago
  • norma jone
    Did french maker alexis godillot supply the confederate army?
    4 years ago
  • MORGANA CALABRESE
    What were confederate soldiers uniforms made of?
    1 year ago
  • BEN ALEXANDER
    How much material for Zouave pants?
    20 days ago

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