The Civil battle soldier’s house away from home was his regiment. Regiments were often composed of men who had actually lived in the exact same neighborhoods and also had known each other before the war. In some cases, regiments had a distinctive local or ethnic character—Irish, German, Italian, Jewish, Indian, or black, among others. In some cases, such together the Zouaves, regiments were distinguished by their vivid uniforms.

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firm G, 93rd new York Infantry at Bealeton, Virginia, august 1863 (Library of Congress)

Regiments were not as organized at the beginning of the problem as they later became. In the enthusiastic rush to volunteer for service in 1861, people would travel v their areas to raise regiments on their own which they would then current to the army. This volunteer regiments would select their very own commanders, and sometimes, administer their very own uniforms and also weapons.

The overwhelming bulk of regiments in both the North and also the southern were infantry. The volunteer infantry regiment, together prescribed by unified States army regulations, consists at complete strength that 10 companies, every of 97 men and also 3 officers. A colonel commanded a regiment, aided by a sublieutenant colonel and also a major. Since of absenteeism, the actual toughness of a regiment generally numbered only about fifty percent of the prescribed strength. Each agency was separated into two platoons and each platoon right into two sections. Over the regimental level to be the brigade, comprised of 4 regiments; the division, made up of three or four brigades; the corps (authorized by conference on July 17, 1862), made up of two or an ext divisions; and also the army, entailing one or an ext corps.

In the Confederate Army-which was organized really much favor the Union—a typical infantry regiment included around 1000 men, led by a captain, 3 lieutenants, 4 sergeants, and 4 corporals. The regiment was headed by a colonel, a sublieutenant colonel, a major, one adjutant, and also a sergeant-major. As in the Union forces, attrition from casualties expected that regiments often battled at fifty percent strength in the later years the the war. In later on years the the war state federal governments in the southern were responsible for recruiting, organizing, and often rudimentary maintain of regiments. State authorities designated each regiment, as soon as organized, by number: because that example, the 1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry. (The Union army continued to usage the recruiting mechanisms the were in location in the federal Government before the Southern states seceded.)


The Zouave the the French army was initially recruited in the 1830s from aboriginal North african troops yet the systems were soon made up entirely the Europeans. The Zouave appeared the “beau-ideal the a soldier,” as general George B. McClellan described him. They took pleasure in a reputation of gift recklessly brave top top the battlefield, together though war was just a game and also their lives just the table stakes. They to be members that an upstream unit v an esprit de corps i beg your pardon bound them together as a family, v the regimental commander recognized as “Father” among the Zouaves, as the family members head. Lock were also bound with each other by your distinctive dress. The Arab-inspired short jacket, baggy trousers and also fez were an essential parts of your identity.

personal Francis Brownell in a Zouave Uniform (Library of Congress)

It to be apparently throughout the Crimean war in 1854 and also the Italian-Austrian battle of 1859 the the Zouaves obtained widespread public notification outside France. Newspaper coverage that the conflicts and also illustrations in magazines like Harper’s Weekly offered the American public ample possibility to become familiar with words Zouave long before the Civil battle began. The Zouave uniform and fame was as well known top top this side of the Atlantic as in Europe, and also it to be only herbal that there would be Zouave copy in the new World.

Despite the successes the the Zouave in the Crimean War, it to be not till 1859 that the an initial widely publicized American Zouave unit was formed.

This organization, the United states Zouave Cadets (a agency of the 60th Regiment, Illinois State Militia), was created from a moribund Chicago volunteer company by Elmer E. Ellsworth, a young idealist v a armed forces persuasion. Newspapers started carrying accounts of their feats at local drill competitions, and also especially, of the brilliant uniforms Ellsworth had designed because that his unit. Among the Cadets described the uniform as:

A glowing red chasseur cap through gold braid; irradiate blue shirt with moire antique facings; dark blue jacket with orange and also red trimmings; brass bell buttons, put as close with each other as possible; a red sash and loose red trousers; russet animal leather leggings, buttoned over the trousers, reaching from ankle halfway come knee; and white waistbelt.

Ellsworth’s Zouaves toured the north States daunting all comers come drill competitions, dispersing their fame transparent the country, and inspiring the development of various other Zouave units. Although there to be Zouave systems in America before Ellsworth, it to be his regiment the really popularized the style.

The original Zouave French african soldiers wore loose and baggy trousers, a short open jacket and a fez and also turban for headgear. This remained in actuality the dress of neighborhood Turkish and also African populace. Initially the dark blue jacket to be trimmed with red on the edge only. The vest was likewise dark blue, through red pants and a blue sash. All apparel were made of cotton cloth. The turban and also fez were red. When the French Zouave uniform remained basically unchanged native the 1840s until the start of the 2nd World War, American Zouaves wore uniforms that ranged from nearly exact copies of the original format to uniforms the were for this reason modified regarding be Zouave in name only.

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The very first Zouave regiment in the polite War, the 9th new York Volunteer Infantry or Hawkin’s Zouaves, to be mustered in on April 23, 1861. Other cities and also states in the North and also the South also saw the development of Zouave units. One French language newspaper comment “Ils pleut des Zouaves” (It is rain Zouaves) due to the fact that there to be so plenty of of the units developed in 1861. There to be Zouaves existing at every major Civil War fight from first Manassas or an initial Bull run to Appomattox.