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Zouave Uniforms

Discussion in 'Civil War Uniforms & Relics' started by JPK Huson 1863, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Captain Forum Host

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    Ok, so it wasn't only at the beginning of the war this confusion existed? Wow, interesting, plus you'd have thought some of these militia would have had more regard for their own skin. I realize many never got as far as a battlefield but some did- it can't have been comfortable wearing exactly the wrong color. It must have been tough enough ascertaining friend from foe in the spur of the moment, as it were.

    I just read of an instance where General Morgan put on a Union uniform and rode up to a Union picket line where he reprimanded the soldiers for not recognizing him as Officer of the Day- which of course they didn't. He then placed them 'under arrest' for the misdemeaner, took them back to the next post where he did the same, etc- eventually captured the entire position. I forget exactly how many and whom- but it must have been really, really confusing. Not only did you have to worry about your own side wearing a color you could recognize across the board, but also by the easiest of ruses the enemy could look just like you!
     
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  3. JRJ

    JRJ Brigadier General Moderator

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    I don't know why, but this brought a short story to mind. "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce.

    So do we collectively agree the bright(er) colors were a good decision or a bad one?
     
  4. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Captain Forum Host

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    Is that the one they turned into a 'Twilight Zone' episode that gave me the willies 30 years ago? I don't remember it very well, just that it gave me the willies and was very sad?

    Boy, it'd be tough to decide what colors would be 'better' on a soldier, wouldn't it? I mean now of course I guess both sides do wear some sort of green if you think about it, but there are other means of ascertaining who is who and the participants rarely get close enough to ride into the other's picket lines, as it were. If you think about it, green would have looked almost silly, although I wonder if it would have saved some lives in some of the close fighting?

    I'm just not one of the military experts, so my opinion might not be worth a huge amount but I am ok with a rifle, long range or otherwise. It's just plain easier to hit a bright red Coke can from a good distance than it is say, last night's baked potato no one ate so we put that out for target practice. :smile: Those Zouave uniforms just seemed to me to be kind of begging to be shot at, with SO many bright colors. Bad decision.
     
  5. prroh

    prroh Captain

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    At Second Manassas, a Confederate officer wrote home that a field full of dead NY Zoauves looked almost pretty until you think of the grisly reasons.
     
  6. JWheeler331

    JWheeler331 First Sergeant

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    I do a lot of work in a little town in Louisiana called Ponchatoula. It used to be a key point for the Railroad to pass into New Orleans. I have always knew it was an old town (When younger I used to get my mom to take me to the Antique shops there for my bday). There is one of those roadside plaques outside of the train depot. Its at a busy little intersection so I admit that I have only read bits and pieces of it over the years. Well yesterday I stopped right at it and got to read it. It talks about Union Troops burning the depot and such before pillaging the town. When I went to the computer and looked up what kind of action may have happened there I seen this. It only talks about the Turkish Zouave in passing but I thought I would share nonetheless.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponchatoula,_Louisiana

    Look at the Civil War part.


    Here is a picture of a Zouave Ambulance Crew.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Civil_War_Zouave_ambulance.jpg
     
  7. major bill

    major bill Sergeant Major

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    The supply of blue cloth was exhausted soon after the start of the Civil War. Dying cloth blue was difficult to do and most mills could not dye cloth blue. There was not enough blue cloth to go around so many Northern regiments wore gray uniforms: there was no other color cloth in enough quantity to purchase. My home state of Michigan had two regiments wearing gray at the First Battle of Bull Run not because they wanted to issue them gray uniforms, but because they could find no other cloth to purchase. In the spring/summer of 1861 the Federal government purchased brown and black uniforms items because they didn’t want gray items. By the fall of 1861 blue cloth was available, at least in limited quantities.

    Major Bill
     
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  8. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Captain Forum Host

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    Thank you, don't believe I'd come across that information on the 'why's' of that terrible confusion on that dreadful day. I really had assumed it was due to people more or less just sending men off to war in whatever they felt would be appropriate for 'war', you know? Things in general were so chaotic, the powers-that-be seemed to be caught with their organizational pants down ( so to speak ) across the board. It didn't seem a far leap to assume no one had thought to just deliver the news on uniform colors!

    It's 150 plus years later, I find myself annoyed that with 'War' in the air for SO long, no one thought to ensure supplies in general, uniforms among them. If nothing else, geesh, there are always, always profiteers who make a bazilion bucks from the prospect of people arguing with large guns- you'd have 'thunk' one of them would have jumped on this.
     
  9. reading48

    reading48 1st Lieutenant

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    Very good posts and Photos....
    I wouldn't want to wear red or white in battle, It's like wearing a bulls eye target....
     
  10. major bill

    major bill Sergeant Major

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    I always found the fire companies that wore Zouave uniforms interesting. The uniforms would have been loose enough to allow freedom of movement, but what about all that flammable cloth being worn around their legs? The Zouave firemen must have looked a bit less natty once their uniforms became wet with water. Then again there were fire companies that wore American Revolution Army uniforms. The turned back tails of those coatees and three corner hats must have been great hiding places for flying embers.

    Major Bill
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
  11. Unknown_Zouave

    Unknown_Zouave Cadet

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    I noticed in this thread a good deal of talk and some pictures of the 14th Brooklyn, however they were not a Zouave unit. The 14 Brooklyn were Chaussures, often mistaken for Zouaves, but definately two different species.

    Also, the French pronounce the word Zouave similiar to how Americans pronounce "suave". However, upon reaching the states, Zouave was anglicized to "zoo-ahv" and to this day, rarely pronounced the way the French do.
     
  12. AUG351

    AUG351 1st Lieutenant

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    My favorite was always the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry "Duryee's Zouaves". They fought in Big Bethel, Ball's Bluff, Peninsular Campaign, Seven Days, Second Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancelloresville. At Second Manassas the 5th Zouaves were cought in Longsteet's attack on the flank and were annihilated by several regiments of Hood's Brigade. 330 of the 500 Zouaves engaged were put out of action, 120 of them dead or dying, one of the greatest battle fatalities of any Federal regiment in the war.

    Corporal of the 5th Zouaves by Don Troiani
    [​IMG]

    The Red Devils The 5th Zouaves at Gaines Mill by Don Troiani
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. 101combatvet

    101combatvet 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    Sounds like the 5th SNY.
     
  14. Dave Wilma

    Dave Wilma Sergeant Major Forum Host

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    Early in Episode 8 of Ken Burns's The Civil War a veteran is on film pronouncing the word. Nothing like hearing it first hand. There may be a video clip on the web.
     
  15. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 2nd Lieutenant

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    William Bates Company H, 8th Missouri Volunteer Infantry "American Zouaves "
    [​IMG]

    Louisana Tiger Zouaves

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. gary

    gary 1st Lieutenant

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    Anyone going to the New York Historical Society would do well to visit their attic/storage. They have some zouave uniforms displayed there.
     
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  17. Yankeedave

    Yankeedave First Sergeant

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    totally tongue tied. my reenacting unit had a historical nick name from back in the day- 'Les Infants Purdue'. We guessed that meant 'The Baby Chickens'. Turns out it's 'the lost babies'. hmm still not sure...
     
  18. 101stmp

    101stmp Sergeant

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    Always amazing to see how the military dressed when it was more of a gentlemans war. Before multicam i felt like the zouaves in my stone colored army acu's in afgan and iraq lol.
     
  19. 101combatvet

    101combatvet 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    I've been there... I'll have to check that out.
     
  20. Sergio999

    Sergio999 Cadet

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    Hello. does anybody can help me to identify uniform
    (FRENCH ZOUAVES AMERICAN ZOUAVES BARBARY PIRATES OTTOMAN EMPIRE ?) unnamed 1.jpg unnamed2.jpg unnamed4.jpg unnamed3.jpg unnamed3.jpg unnamed5.jpg unnamed6.jpg unnamed7.jpg unnamed8.jpg
    I have purchase on territory Us
    (Buffalo NEW YORK)
    Please tell me what kid of uniform is it two pieces
    (Jacket with heavy embroidery buttons says PARIS)
    (Pans with same embroidery buttons are look like bones) unnamed9.jpg unnamed10.jpg unnamed 11.jpg unnamed12.jpg unnamed13.jpg unnamed14.jpg unnamed17.jpg
     

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  21. Sergio999

    Sergio999 Cadet

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    PANS unnamed18.jpg unnamed19.jpg
     
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