n 1861 Rush C. Hawkins, a veteran of the Mexican War went to work finding men for a new regiment. Starting with members of the old pre war Company of New York Zouaves, he enlisted enough men to muster his 9th New York Infantry on May 4, 1861. Thanks to their uniform and their founder's name, they were quickly dubbed "Hawkins' Zouaves." They fought at Big Bethel in June 1861, then went on to campaign in North Carolina before returning to take part in the Battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg. They were mustered out in May 1863. The uniforms that gave them their name were typical of zouave outfits:
skullcap, short jacket and baggy pants tucked into white leggings. Armed with 1861 Springfield rifles and baronets, they lent color to their army, though how colorful they were by 1863 is open to debate and hard wear and a uniform that looked as if it were made for Rebel target practice may have toned it down.
Was this article helpful?