The Bloody Wilderness

During 1863 and 1864 three Union regiments who had previously been clad in regulation army dress were issued Zouave uniforms as a reward for their proficiency at drill and to maintain the proud Zouave legacy. The delighted recipients of these fancy new uniforms were the 146th New ^ork who received their Zouave dress in June 1863, followed by the 14()tli New York and the 155th Pennsylvania, who were issued with Zouave uniforms early in 1864.

These three Zouave regiments formed half of a brigade commanded by Brigadier-general Romcyn B. Ay res. In the 146th's ranks w ere many three-year enlistees from the legendary 5th New York, transferred from Duryec's Zouaves because their terms of serv ice had not expired.

The new Zouave uniform was particularly welcome to the men of the 155th Pennsylvania. W hen they were mustered into service in 1862, they had been issued ill-fitting long blue coats and armed with unreliable Belgian rifles. The new Zouave uniforms, issued in January 1864, helped

Sack Coat Men Sketch

Period sketch oj the /ouaves d'.IJiii/ue, also known us Hunks' Bodyguard, a company of Pennsylvania /.ouaves raised by C.aptain Chartes II.'/'. Collis, lie was later authorised to recruit a full regiment of /.ouaves in Philadelphia, which became the I Nth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, the famed Collis' /ouaves. (Library of Congress)

Period sketch oj the /ouaves d'.IJiii/ue, also known us Hunks' Bodyguard, a company of Pennsylvania /.ouaves raised by C.aptain Chartes II.'/'. Collis, lie was later authorised to recruit a full regiment of /.ouaves in Philadelphia, which became the I Nth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, the famed Collis' /ouaves. (Library of Congress)

to instill fresh pride in the men of the regiment.

\lso issued with its Zouave uniforms in eai 1864 was the 140th New York, one of the res ments who had fought in the fierce contest f Little Round Top at Gettysburg, during wlii their commander, Patrick Henry O'Rorke, h been killed.

In the Wilderness campaign of 1864, win Grant's army became entangled with the Army Northern Virginia in acres of Virginia scrub ai forest, the three regiments ol Ay res Brigade won see some of the toughest fighting of the war. O: of the few open spaces in the dense undergrow of the wilderness was an area known as Saundc Field, around 800 y ards long and 400 y ards w id It was there that Union troops pitched in General Richard Kwell's Confederates. Lcadii the Union advance way the 140th New York wi the 146th in the secon. line. 1'he 140th was cor

Union Army Group New York Zouave

Ciillis' Zouave in a piilwe taken around IftO.I. He's posing without gaiters or jamhieres, mill the comparative narrowness oj his Chasseur, rather than Zouave pattern, trousers can he seen. For such a relaxed shot it's strange lliat this private wanted to wear his turban, usually reserved for full dress occasions.( Michael J. l/r [fee)

Xo-nonsense looking Captain Francis Fix, oj the I Nth Pennsylvania, proudly wears his regiment's numbers in the officer's insignia on his kepi. Fix saw tough action with the I Nth at Gett ysburg, where he was wounded. Fix was invalided out oj service during Christmas lHb.i. (Michael .7- McAfee)

Ciillis' Zouave in a piilwe taken around IftO.I. He's posing without gaiters or jamhieres, mill the comparative narrowness oj his Chasseur, rather than Zouave pattern, trousers can he seen. For such a relaxed shot it's strange lliat this private wanted to wear his turban, usually reserved for full dress occasions.( Michael J. l/r [fee)

niandcd by O'Rorke's successor. Colonel George Ryan. They'd managed to keep good order while struggling through the undergrowth, and welcomed being in the open until they were hit In fierce Confederate fire.

Waiting for reinforcements, Ryan, whose horse had been hit, ordered his men 10 lie down. Fresh troops arrived to bolster the line, and Ryan ordered his Zouaves to charge. 'The regiment

Xo-nonsense looking Captain Francis Fix, oj the I Nth Pennsylvania, proudly wears his regiment's numbers in the officer's insignia on his kepi. Fix saw tough action with the I Nth at Gett ysburg, where he was wounded. Fix was invalided out oj service during Christmas lHb.i. (Michael .7- McAfee)

started with an ear-splitting veil that echoed through the woods, giving assurance to the troops on the right and left of the line that Ryan's Zouaves were charging the enemy,' wrote Captain Henry Crihben of the 140th. The lines of colourful Zouaves didn't falter, even though a stray shell from a Union battery ploughed into the back of the 140th.

140th Infantry

The 1 3rd \'en> )ork I olunteer Infantry proudly called themselves the 2nd Fire Zouaves, and for a time at Gettysburg fought alongside the I Nth Pennsylvania. Seeing service throughout the war, the 73rd hail a much more illustrious career than Ellsworth's First Fire Zouaves, who virtually ceased to exist after First Hull Run. Is shown m this Harper's Weekly print, the Second Fire Zouaves wore Chasseur-type dress with dark blue jackets. Dark blue forage caps were worn, although at least one period photograph shows the 73rd wearing jezzes. (Ron Field)

The 1 3rd \'en> )ork I olunteer Infantry proudly called themselves the 2nd Fire Zouaves, and for a time at Gettysburg fought alongside the I Nth Pennsylvania. Seeing service throughout the war, the 73rd hail a much more illustrious career than Ellsworth's First Fire Zouaves, who virtually ceased to exist after First Hull Run. Is shown m this Harper's Weekly print, the Second Fire Zouaves wore Chasseur-type dress with dark blue jackets. Dark blue forage caps were worn, although at least one period photograph shows the 73rd wearing jezzes. (Ron Field)

Waving his hat, Ryan led the cheering Zouaves into the woods which bordered the other side of Saunders field. Amongst the undergrowth the lines of determined Zouaves dissolved into groups and began to push their wax forward, clawing at the enemy. 'Closing with the enemv we fought them with bayonet as well as bullet,' recalled Captain Il.W.S. Sweet of the 146th. 'Up through the trees rolled dense clouds of battle smoke, circling about the green of the pines. Underneath men ran to and fro, firing shouting, stabbing with bayonets.'

Hut it was impossible to pull oil an effective attack in such difficult terrain, and Rvan was forced to pull his men out of the woods and retreat back oxer the killing ground of Saunders Field, which they'd marched so resolutelx across. 'The bright red of our Zouave uniforms mingled with the sober grax and butternut of the Confederates, creating a fantastic spectacle as the wearers ran over the field, firing and shouting,' wrote one Zouave.

On that hot afternoon in the Wilderness, on 5 May 1<S64, the fight at Saunders Field had cost the 140th and 146th \cw York 567 men out of their combined strength of 1,600. During the Sanders Field fight, the 155th Pennsylvania had been battling it out with rebels in woods to the north, in what proved a less costlx but equally hard contest. All the men of the three new Zouave r__ ~

United States Zouave Cadets, I860 1: Colonel Elmer E. Ellsworth 2 &• 3: Cadets

United States Zouave Cadets

11th New York Volunteer Infantry, 1st Fire Zouaves, 1801 1 & 2: Privates

New York Zouave UniformConfederate Louisiana Infantry

Tiger Rifles, Company 15, Ist Special Battalion Louisiana Infantry, Dull Run. 1861 1: Corporal 2 \ 3: Privates

American Civil War Louisiana Uniform Charleston Zouave Cadets

I : Private, Charleston Zouave Cadets, 1861 2: Private, Albany Zouave Cadets, 1861 3: Corporal, Salem Zouaves, 1861

New York Zouaves

1: Private, Irish Zouaves, Company k, 69th New V<irk State Militia, 1861 2: Corporal, New York Volunteer Infantry, Hawkins' Zouaves, 1862 3: Sergeant, 10th New York Volunteer Infantry, National Zouaves, 1862

Gaines' Mill, 1862

1: Private, 5th New York Volunteer Infantry, Dunce's Zouaves 2 & 3: Sergeant John H. Berrian and Sergeant Andrew B. Allison, 5th New York

5th Zouave Uniform11th Indiana Wallace Zouaves

wy 95

11th Indiana

1: Officcr, 11th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, Wallace's Zouaves, 1861 2: Private, 11th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Wallace's Zouaves, 1863 3: I'rivatc, 76th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Keystone Zouaves, 1863

wy 95

Pennsylvania Zouaves, 1863 1 & 2: Private and Vivandiere, 72nd Pennsylvania, Baxter's Fire Zouaves 3: Sergeant, 23rd Pennsylvania, Bimev's Zouaves

10th New York Zouaves
yg/. 95

165th New York, 2nd Battalion, Dun ce's Zouaves, 1864 1 &• 2: Officers 3: Private

11th New York Infantry Turban Uniform

1: Private, 44th New York, Ellsworth's Avengers, 1864

2: Private, 140th New York Volunteer Infantry. 1864

3: Sergeant, 146th New York Volunteer Infantry, Garrard's Tigers, 1864

1: Private, 44th New York, Ellsworth's Avengers, 1864

2: Private, 140th New York Volunteer Infantry. 1864

3: Sergeant, 146th New York Volunteer Infantry, Garrard's Tigers, 1864

Vivandiere
Vfy.95

1 & 2: Private and Vivandière, 1 Hth Pennsylvania, Collis' Zouaves, 1864 3: Private, 155th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantrv, 1864

1 & 2: Private and Vivandière, 1 Hth Pennsylvania, Collis' Zouaves, 1864 3: Private, 155th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantrv, 1864

Vivandiere Uniform

regiments in \yers' Brigade had worn their new Zouave uniforms with honour.

+7 -2

Responses

  • sandra
    What does a louisiana zouave volunteer look like in full uniform?
    5 years ago
  • Taziana
    Where was 146th ny issued zouave uniforms june 3, 1863?
    5 years ago
  • luciano rossi
    What did the uniform of the 73rd new york regiment look like?
    4 years ago
  • fikru
    What did the 1864 uniform for the 2nd Ill. cav. look like?
    4 years ago
  • rose sackville
    When were 146th new york issued zouave uniforms?
    4 years ago

Post a comment