Now He's a Zouave! Edwin J. Sweet, 40th New York

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,176
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#1
sweet top j.jpg
sweet bottom j.jpg

Edwin J. Sweet in Zouave uniform, 40th New York, " The Constitution Guard ", 1861. One of the best Zouave photos I've come across. LoC.

40th had a long war- Fair Oaks, Seven Days, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, 2nd Bull Run, Gettysburg- uniforms wore an awful of blood and dust. Portion of Col.'s report after Gettysburg.

" At this point we were subjected to an enfilading fire from the enemy’s batteries, which compelled a change of position. Moving across a road leading from the Emmitsburg road to the Baltimore pike, we again formed line of battle, when I was moved, by order of Colonel de Trobriand, with the rest of the brigade, marching in line of battle, about 100 yards to the left and front, to the support of a battery which was stationed near a peach orchard.

At about 4 o’clock were relieved by a portion of the Fifth Corps, when I was ordered by Major-General Birney to move by the left flank through the woods across a field of wheat, in front of Captain Winslow’s battery, to a position pointed out to me by Capt. J. C. Briscoe, in a ravine bounded on the left by high hills and upon the right by a gentle ridge.

The enemy had at this time partly succeeded in flanking the Second Brigade upon my right by a movement upon their left. Captain Smith’s (Fourth New York) Battery was stationed upon the ridge at my right, and was in a very perilous situation. The enemy having already captured two of his pieces, he called upon me in beseeching terms to save his battery. I then moved in line of battle, with my right connecting with the Second Brigade regiments, which were on the right of the battery, under a terrific fire of the enemy’s infantry, who were strongly disposed behind the natural defenses of rocks and ridges, encountering also a destructive fire from his artillery. I immediately ordered my men to charge, when with great alacrity they pushed forward at a double-quick, crossing a marsh up to their knees in mud and water. " Col. Egan's partial report of the 40th, Day 2, Gettysburg


The enemy fell back upon my advance, but it was attended with no particular advantage to ourselves, for their new position was very much stronger than the first. All attempts to dislodge them from the second line proving unsuccessful, and discovering that they had gained ground upon my right, which threatened a flank movement, the regiments on my right having fallen to the rear and exposed us to a cross-fire, I was compelled to fall back, rallying my men upon the ridge over which I passed.

In moving in, my command suffered terribly, and here I have to regret the loss of one of my bravest and best officers, Lieut. William H. H. Johnson, who was acting adjutant. While nobly and gallantly urging on the men, he was killed instantly by a Minie ball. I sustained also the loss of many of my bravest and most faithful men, who nobly fell in the performance of their sacred duty, facing the enemy of our country.


Read somewhere Zouave uniforms were popular because they were easy to make quickly. In 1861 communities outfitted men, ladies burning midnight oil to march them off ASAP. Well, it doesn't look like simple toggery to whip up although haven't sewn a thing since Mom finished my 7th grade Home Ec project. Useless with a sewing machine so do not know.

Came across Edwin J. Sweet on LoC, seemed too wonderful not to share. Had an idea someone mistook a European soldier for Edwin but nope. He wasn't just all swish, patriotic glamor and dash, either. Sweet seems to have served from June, 1861 through May of 65. Mustered out a Lt. , record includes wound at Fredericksburg, MIA after Cold Harbor and a baffling desertion charge in1863. Must have been straightened out if he was still on officer in 1865?

Love to know what if anything may have survived of his uniform by 1865.
 

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Joined
Dec 6, 2017
Messages
930
Location
UK
#4
FYI - Anyone interested in the 40th New York should look at https://www.civilwartalk.com/thread...3rd-brigade-1st-division-3rd-corp-aop.152455/ where about half way through a more detailed look at the complicated composition of that gallant if unsung Regiment occurs.

And as to the report when he states he moves to 'a ravine bounded on the left by high hills and upon the right by a gentle ridge' the swampy ravine is of course Devils Den. The heights are what came to be known as Little Round Top...
 
Joined
Dec 6, 2017
Messages
930
Location
UK
#5

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,176
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#10
That's a great image, and a pretty clear look at his uniform. It is definitely one of the best I have ever seen. thanks for posting it @JPK Huson 1863. Happy New Year, still have around an hour here.

We were big wussies and decided 2019 would still be there in the morning. Isn't that awful? Did wake up to the usual booms at midnight, someone was tougher than us. Happy New Year, 5 1/2 hours old!

Some of the Zouave uniforms were well made, especally pre Civil War militia companies. However, some of the uniforms put together quickly by home towns were just horrid.

Once had a shot at trying to figure out who wore them and what they were- became confused after a day. Guessing there's a thread somewhere or would that be just too huge a topic for one thread?
 

gary

Captain
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
6,442
#11
The 40th New York Volunteer Infantry were also known as the Mozart (Music Hall) Regiment. Reputed to be among the best foragers, they were also called, The Forty Thieves and would be greeted by other regiments as, "Here comes The Forty Thieves."
.
 

Legion Para

Captain
Retired Moderator
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
6,475
#12
I'll never understand their uniform. May look fancy and sharp, but utilitarian wise I can't believe it's benefits
When does a uniform equate to fighting prowess? Kilts in WW I weren't utilitarian and some Highland units earned hard won reputations for their fighting ability. Sometimes it's about Esprit de Corps. I have seen camouflage clad troopers going into battle wearing colored scarfs and insignia.
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Messages
3,076
#13
View attachment 215937 View attachment 215936
Edwin J. Sweet in Zouave uniform, 40th New York, " The Constitution Guard ", 1861. One of the best Zouave photos I've come across. LoC.

40th had a long war- Fair Oaks, Seven Days, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, 2nd Bull Run, Gettysburg- uniforms wore an awful of blood and dust. Portion of Col.'s report after Gettysburg.

" At this point we were subjected to an enfilading fire from the enemy’s batteries, which compelled a change of position. Moving across a road leading from the Emmitsburg road to the Baltimore pike, we again formed line of battle, when I was moved, by order of Colonel de Trobriand, with the rest of the brigade, marching in line of battle, about 100 yards to the left and front, to the support of a battery which was stationed near a peach orchard.

At about 4 o’clock were relieved by a portion of the Fifth Corps, when I was ordered by Major-General Birney to move by the left flank through the woods across a field of wheat, in front of Captain Winslow’s battery, to a position pointed out to me by Capt. J. C. Briscoe, in a ravine bounded on the left by high hills and upon the right by a gentle ridge.

The enemy had at this time partly succeeded in flanking the Second Brigade upon my right by a movement upon their left. Captain Smith’s (Fourth New York) Battery was stationed upon the ridge at my right, and was in a very perilous situation. The enemy having already captured two of his pieces, he called upon me in beseeching terms to save his battery. I then moved in line of battle, with my right connecting with the Second Brigade regiments, which were on the right of the battery, under a terrific fire of the enemy’s infantry, who were strongly disposed behind the natural defenses of rocks and ridges, encountering also a destructive fire from his artillery. I immediately ordered my men to charge, when with great alacrity they pushed forward at a double-quick, crossing a marsh up to their knees in mud and water. " Col. Egan's partial report of the 40th, Day 2, Gettysburg

The enemy fell back upon my advance, but it was attended with no particular advantage to ourselves, for their new position was very much stronger than the first. All attempts to dislodge them from the second line proving unsuccessful, and discovering that they had gained ground upon my right, which threatened a flank movement, the regiments on my right having fallen to the rear and exposed us to a cross-fire, I was compelled to fall back, rallying my men upon the ridge over which I passed.

In moving in, my command suffered terribly, and here I have to regret the loss of one of my bravest and best officers, Lieut. William H. H. Johnson, who was acting adjutant. While nobly and gallantly urging on the men, he was killed instantly by a Minie ball. I sustained also the loss of many of my bravest and most faithful men, who nobly fell in the performance of their sacred duty, facing the enemy of our country.


Read somewhere Zouave uniforms were popular because they were easy to make quickly. In 1861 communities outfitted men, ladies burning midnight oil to march them off ASAP. Well, it doesn't look like simple toggery to whip up although haven't sewn a thing since Mom finished my 7th grade Home Ec project. Useless with a sewing machine so do not know.

Came across Edwin J. Sweet on LoC, seemed too wonderful not to share. Had an idea someone mistook a European soldier for Edwin but nope. He wasn't just all swish, patriotic glamor and dash, either. Sweet seems to have served from June, 1861 through May of 65. Mustered out a Lt. , record includes wound at Fredericksburg, MIA after Cold Harbor and a baffling desertion charge in1863. Must have been straightened out if he was still on officer in 1865?

Love to know what if anything may have survived of his uniform by 1865.
The 40th apparently lost their appetite, for such uniforms and at least at Gettysburg were wearing standard Federal issue clothing. Their statue along Plum Run in the Valley of Death depicts a soldier in standard issue uniform. The 40th, at Gettysburg, was a consolidation of various NY regiments that also included some Massachusetts troops as well (4 companies) and two companies of Pennsylvania troops., The marker to the 40th was funded by appropriations from two states. I would proffer that the original Constitution Guard, which was an incomplete unit, wore the Zouave uniforms and since they only comprised 4 companies, I imagine that their shift to standard Federal clothing came early, with the addition of the Mass troops.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,176
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#14
The 40th apparently lost their appetite, for such uniforms and at least at Gettysburg were wearing standard Federal issue clothing. Their statue along Plum Run in the Valley of Death depicts a soldier in standard issue uniform. The 40th, at Gettysburg, was a consolidation of various NY regiments that also included some Massachusetts troops as well (4 companies) and two companies of Pennsylvania troops., The marker to the 40th was funded by appropriations from two states. I would proffer that the original Constitution Guard, which was an incomplete unit, wore the Zouave uniforms and since they only comprised 4 companies, I imagine that their shift to standard Federal clothing came early, with the addition of the Mass troops.

Thank you! Have a question- well, two. Were any regiments still at least partially Zouave by 1863? And were those shirts with a gazillion buttons part of the Zouave uniform or just a NY thing? Only photo we have of JPK in uniform he's wearing one. 126th NY. Seems extremely similar to Sweet's. It's one of those artistically faded around the edges photos and badly faded anyway, tough to see enough.
 
Joined
Dec 6, 2017
Messages
930
Location
UK
#15
Thank you! Have a question- well, two. Were any regiments still at least partially Zouave by 1863? And were those shirts with a gazillion buttons part of the Zouave uniform or just a NY thing? Only photo we have of JPK in uniform he's wearing one. 126th NY. Seems extremely similar to Sweet's. It's one of those artistically faded around the edges photos and badly faded anyway, tough to see enough.
Definitely. Indeed Zouave Regiments were being raised late in the war though what seems to have happened is that there was an initial enthusiasm for Zouaves. Then a pause in formation. Then a resurgence in interest, certainly that seems to be the case on the US side, Pennsylvania for some reason especially enthusiastic in this second period.
 

James N.

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Civil War Photo Contest
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Messages
10,995
Location
East Texas
#16
View attachment 215937 View attachment 215936
Edwin J. Sweet in Zouave uniform, 40th New York, " The Constitution Guard ", 1861. One of the best Zouave photos I've come across. LoC.

40th had a long war- Fair Oaks, Seven Days, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, 2nd Bull Run, Gettysburg- uniforms wore an awful of blood and dust. Portion of Col.'s report after Gettysburg.

" At this point we were subjected to an enfilading fire from the enemy’s batteries, which compelled a change of position. Moving across a road leading from the Emmitsburg road to the Baltimore pike, we again formed line of battle, when I was moved, by order of Colonel de Trobriand, with the rest of the brigade, marching in line of battle, about 100 yards to the left and front, to the support of a battery which was stationed near a peach orchard.

At about 4 o’clock were relieved by a portion of the Fifth Corps, when I was ordered by Major-General Birney to move by the left flank through the woods across a field of wheat, in front of Captain Winslow’s battery, to a position pointed out to me by Capt. J. C. Briscoe, in a ravine bounded on the left by high hills and upon the right by a gentle ridge.

The enemy had at this time partly succeeded in flanking the Second Brigade upon my right by a movement upon their left. Captain Smith’s (Fourth New York) Battery was stationed upon the ridge at my right, and was in a very perilous situation. The enemy having already captured two of his pieces, he called upon me in beseeching terms to save his battery. I then moved in line of battle, with my right connecting with the Second Brigade regiments, which were on the right of the battery, under a terrific fire of the enemy’s infantry, who were strongly disposed behind the natural defenses of rocks and ridges, encountering also a destructive fire from his artillery. I immediately ordered my men to charge, when with great alacrity they pushed forward at a double-quick, crossing a marsh up to their knees in mud and water. " Col. Egan's partial report of the 40th, Day 2, Gettysburg

The enemy fell back upon my advance, but it was attended with no particular advantage to ourselves, for their new position was very much stronger than the first. All attempts to dislodge them from the second line proving unsuccessful, and discovering that they had gained ground upon my right, which threatened a flank movement, the regiments on my right having fallen to the rear and exposed us to a cross-fire, I was compelled to fall back, rallying my men upon the ridge over which I passed.

In moving in, my command suffered terribly, and here I have to regret the loss of one of my bravest and best officers, Lieut. William H. H. Johnson, who was acting adjutant. While nobly and gallantly urging on the men, he was killed instantly by a Minie ball. I sustained also the loss of many of my bravest and most faithful men, who nobly fell in the performance of their sacred duty, facing the enemy of our country.


Read somewhere Zouave uniforms were popular because they were easy to make quickly. In 1861 communities outfitted men, ladies burning midnight oil to march them off ASAP. Well, it doesn't look like simple toggery to whip up although haven't sewn a thing since Mom finished my 7th grade Home Ec project. Useless with a sewing machine so do not know.

Came across Edwin J. Sweet on LoC, seemed too wonderful not to share. Had an idea someone mistook a European soldier for Edwin but nope. He wasn't just all swish, patriotic glamor and dash, either. Sweet seems to have served from June, 1861 through May of 65. Mustered out a Lt. , record includes wound at Fredericksburg, MIA after Cold Harbor and a baffling desertion charge in1863. Must have been straightened out if he was still on officer in 1865?

Love to know what if anything may have survived of his uniform by 1865.
I hate to rain on anybody's parade here, but I don't believe this is a wartime image at all - the reason? The M.1860 Sword for Officers of the Staff and Field he's wearing, as well as the overall "look" of the photo. Although the sword became regulation in 1860 and is therefore a "wartime" item, it became regulation for MOST officers of so-called foot troops (infantry and fort or garrison artillery) in 1872 and was widely copied by groups as diverse as the GAR, State Militias, Fraternal orginazations, and even the KKK! Although Sweet mustered out as a lieutenant, I think it unlikely he would've worn this particular model sword; more likely it would've been a M.1850 typical for infantry officers.
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Messages
3,076
#17
I hate to rain on anybody's parade here, but I don't believe this is a wartime image at all - the reason? The M.1860 Sword for Officers of the Staff and Field he's wearing, as well as the overall "look" of the photo. Although the sword became regulation in 1860 and is therefore a "wartime" item, it became regulation for MOST officers of so-called foot troops (infantry and fort or garrison artillery) in 1872 and was widely copied by groups as diverse as the GAR, State Militias, Fraternal orginazations, and even the KKK! Although Sweet mustered out as a lieutenant, I think it unlikely he would've worn this particular model sword; more likely it would've been a M.1850 typical for infantry officers.
I believe you are right, Sweet enlisted as a private and promoted to sergeant in 1863 well after the Zouave uniform would have been worn. He also enlisted at 22 and the photograph seems to indicate someone older than 24/25.
 

James N.

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Civil War Photo Contest
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Messages
10,995
Location
East Texas
#18
I believe you are right, Sweet enlisted as a private and promoted to sergeant in 1863 well after the Zouave uniform would have been worn. He also enlisted at 22 and the photograph seems to indicate someone older than 24/25.
I neglected to mention that this sword style BY FAR is the most commonly encountered sword from the Nineteenth Century in existence and nearly all of them post-date the Civil War.
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Messages
3,076
#19
Thank you! Have a question- well, two. Were any regiments still at least partially Zouave by 1863? And were those shirts with a gazillion buttons part of the Zouave uniform or just a NY thing? Only photo we have of JPK in uniform he's wearing one. 126th NY. Seems extremely similar to Sweet's. It's one of those artistically faded around the edges photos and badly faded anyway, tough to see enough.
There were, but very few, the uniform was a pain and as the soldiers became veterans and for the most part, simplicity ruled the day over esprit de corps. Collis Zouaves 114 PA continued to wear their uniforms well into the war and were so attired at Gettysburg.

Not far from you is a very nice example, of a Zouave uniform Birney's Zouaves 23rd PA, at the Horse Soldier:

http://www.horsesoldier.com/products/identified-items/uniforms-and-cloth/9746

5th NY in 1861 and how they would have looked at the end of the war, Brian Pohanka is leading the re-enactment group of the 5th, he is sorely missed in the hobby.

1546547764295.png



1546547651686.png
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,176
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#20
I hate to rain on anybody's parade here, but I don't believe this is a wartime image at all - the reason? The M.1860 Sword for Officers of the Staff and Field he's wearing, as well as the overall "look" of the photo. Although the sword became regulation in 1860 and is therefore a "wartime" item, it became regulation for MOST officers of so-called foot troops (infantry and fort or garrison artillery) in 1872 and was widely copied by groups as diverse as the GAR, State Militias, Fraternal orginazations, and even the KKK! Although Sweet mustered out as a lieutenant, I think it unlikely he would've worn this particular model sword; more likely it would've been a M.1850 typical for infantry officers.

You know, without a scrap of knowledge to base it on the uniform seemed 'much'? At first thought it a misplaced, foreign shot- you see them Ebay alllll the time. " Civil War Soldier Tintype, 19.95 plus shipping ", and it's someone who never crossed the Pond. The LoC identifier gave the man's name, etc., so admitted to myself " What do I know, it's LoC ". Back to ' What do I know?'

Checked around on LoC, saw nothing similar although quite a few Zouave images- although knew communities helped putting uniforms together so could have just been an over-the-top patriotic effort. We've seen some amazing ones from 1861. BUT, of course, it's LoC, tend to believe them. Wonder if the photo was a donation by family who thought forever and ever, this was their ancestor?

Isn't there an option where someone may point out errors? Have a strong feeling coming from the non-historian blond in PA, historians there may be a little inclined to scoff. May I copy/paste your post, and @Package4 's please?

Would like to add one huge reason I joined here is, after lurking for a bit, noticed this insistence on History. James B did the same thing, keeping posts honest. You folks were intimidating as heck and almost didn't join but no one laughed at you- they simply correct this stuff. Thanks to all of you, including James B, not with us anymore but still here.
 



(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Top