ISSUE NUMBER 1

HISTORICAL MINIATURES BY GEORGE GRASSE
HISTORICAL MINIATURES JOURNAL

AUGUST 2008

HISTORICAL MINIATURES JOURNAL ISSUE NUMBER 1

PUBLISHED BY GEORGE GRASSE

ZOUAVES

RESEARCH NOTES FOR MODELING 54mm SCALE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR ZOUAVES: PART 1

 PREFACE

This article is the first in an ongoing series that describes the modeling of American Civil War Zouaves in 54mm scale.  For this issue, I will list the regiments to be covered in detail in following issues.  Each issue will provide an historical background and a step-by-step description on how to build and paint these colorful figures. 

UNION ZOUAVE REGIMENTS TO BE FEATURED

UNION INFANTRY UNITS ZOUAVE NAME JOURNAL ISSUE
11th Indiana Infantry Regiment "Wallace's Zouaves"  ISSUE 3
33rd New Jersey Infantry Regiment "Mindl's Zouaves" ISSUE 6
5th New York Infantry Regiment "Duryea's Zouaves" ISSUE 17
9th New York Infantry Regiment "Hawkins' Zouaves" ISSUE 16
10th New York Infantry Regiment "National Zouaves" ISSUE 13
11th New York Infantry Regiment "Ellsworth's Fire Zouaves"  
17th New York Veteran Infantry Regiment no nickname  
44th New York Infantry Regiment "Ellsworth's Avengers" ISSUE 5
53rd New York Infantry Regiment "d'Epineul's Zouaves" ISSUE 14
69th New York Infantry Regiment K Company "Zouaves"  
84th New York Infantry Regiment * "14th Brooklyn NYSM" ISSUE 18
140th New York Infantry Regiment "Rochester Regiment" ISSUE 7
146th New York Infantry Regiment "Garrard's Tiger Zouaves" ISSUE 12
165th New York Infantry Regiment "2nd Duryea's Zouaves"  
23rd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment "Birney's Zouaves" ISSUE 11
72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment "Baxter's Fire Zouaves" ISSUE 4
76th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment "Keystone Zouaves" ISSUE 8
95th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment "Gosline's Zouaves" ISSUE 2
114th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment "Collis' Zouaves" ISSUE 9
155th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment no nickname  

* technically, the regiment wore a modified French Chasseur-style uniform

 

The Confederate Army contained several Zouave formations the most famous of which were two Louisiana battalions (6 companies each) listed below along with a few other formations.  Most did not survive the long the war having been decimated by casualties and disease then disbanded.  Survivors were "drafted" into existing state regiments.

CONFEDERATE ZOUAVE UNITS

CONFEDERATE INFANTRY UNITS ZOUAVE NAME

JOURNAL ISSUE

 1st Battalion, Louisiana Infantry "Coppen's Zouaves" ISSUE 10
 1st Special Battalion, Louisiana Infantry "Wheat's Tiger Zouaves" ISSUE 15
 13th Louisiana Infantry Regiment no nickname  
 Charleston Zouave Cadets * "Charleston Zouaves"  
 2nd Maryland Zouaves Coy E, 1st Bn Maryland Infantry  

* technically the regiment wore a modified French Chasseur-style uniform

The origin of American Civil War Zouave uniforms precedes the war by only a few years.  In the late 1850's, America's tradition of maintaining local militia units was boosted by the likelihood of a war between the states.  Thousands of enthusiastic young men joined local units and a competition for recruits and recognition of sorts resulted between cities and towns.  At that time, France was the envied European military power and so too were the uniforms of its famous Chasseur and Zouave units.  The attractiveness of the uniform and the lan of the French infantry helped many local militia units in their recruitment.  The origin of the Chasseur-style uniform goes back to the Napoleonic period.  The origin of the Zouave uniform was more recent.  In the 1830's, France had imperialistic designs for western North Africa particularly Algeria.  The famous French Foreign Legion was created specifically to fight in that region.  To augment the Legion, local units were raised and allowed to maintain a form of dress suited to their custom.  With a little French flair for costume design, the Zouave uniform was created with the baggy trousers, short jacket, fez, tassel, and wide wrap-around waistband. 

It was this uniform that was initially copied by local American militia units North and South.  Later, as the war progressed, the cost of maintaining the uniform became expensive for those private individuals who had originally funded a local units dress.  It was especially difficult for the South and, after mid-1862, Zouave dress had all but disappeared.  In the North, the U. S. Government stepped in on a number of occasions to equip and maintain Zouave uniforms for several of its most deserving regiments, e.g., 140th New York, 155th Pennsylvania.

After a short period, the baggy trousers gave way to a more practical American version of the French Chasseur-style which was less baggy and made of more durable material.  It is not unusual to see some regiments who have completed discarded Zouave dress save for the cap or perhaps their jacket which made them distinctive and reminded others of past glory when they were fully attired Zouaves.  In the coming issues I will provide a brief history of the Zouave unit, describe the uniform, and detail how the figure was modified and painted.

 

SPECIAL ARTICLE

THE INFLUENCE OF THE FRENCH ARMY ON AMERICAN CIVIL WAR ZOUAVE UNIFORMS by George Grasse

 

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REFERENCES

Zouaves: The First and the Bravest, Michael J. McAfee, Thomas Publications, Gettysburg, PA 1991.

American Civil War Zouaves, Osprey Elite #62, by Robin Smith, illustrated by Bill Younghusband, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, UK, 1996Echoes of

Echoes of Glory: Arms and Equipment of The Union, by the Editors of Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, 1991.

Echoes of Glory: Arms and Equipment of The Confederacy, by the Editors of Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, 1991.

Don Troiani's Regiments & Uniforms of the Civil War, Art by Don Troiani, Text by Earl J. Coates, Michael J. McAfee, and Don Troiani, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA, 2002.

 

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