ISSUE NUMBER 11

HISTORICAL MINIATURES BY GEORGE GRASSE
HISTORICAL MINIATURES JOURNAL

FEBRUARY 2011

HISTORICAL MINIATURES JOURNAL ISSUE NUMBER 11

PUBLISHED BY GEORGE GRASSE

 AMERICAN CIVIL WAR ZOUAVES

RESEARCH NOTES FOR MODELING 54mm SCALE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR ZOUAVES: PART 11 (Revised July 2013)

 

23rd PENNSYLVANIA REGIMENT "BIRNEY'S ZOUAVES" HISTORY

Chronological Summary of Service for the 23rd Pennsylvania Regiment "Birney's Zouaves"

From / To Brigade Division Corps Army
Aug 1861 - Sep 1861 Organizational Period at Philadelphia, PA
Sep 1861 - Mar1862 unknown Buell's (Couch's) unknown Army of the Potomac
Mar 1862 - Jul 1862 2nd 1st 4th Army of the Potomac
Jul 1862 - Sep 1862 3rd 1st 4th Army of the Potomac
Sep 1862 - Oct 1862 3rd 3rd 6th Army of the Potomac
Oct 1862 - Jan 1864 1st 3rd 6th Army of the Potomac
Jan 1864 - May 1864 Guard Detail for Confederate Prisoners on Johnson's Island, Sandusky, Ohio
May 1864 - Jul 1864 4th 1st 6th Army of the Potomac
Jul 1864 - Sep 1864 3rd 1st 6th Army of the Shenandoah
Sep 1864 Mustered out of Federal service 8 September 1864

 

When mustering into Federal service, the regiment moved to the Defenses of Washington, D.C. and served there until March, 1862.  In April, the regiment was entrenched before Yorktown as part of the Army of the Potomac's 4th Army Corps.  It operated in this area after the siege as part of a general advance on Richmond.  By the end of May 1862, the battles for Richmond began at Fair Oaks and Seven Pines, 31 May and June 1.  McClellan's strategy of changing bases to Harrison's Landing led to a violent series of clashes with the Confederate Army covering Richmond now led by General R. E. Lee.  The regiment remained at Harrison's Landing until 16 August when it was shipped to Alexandria, Virginia, and then on to Chantilly where it remained in position to 30 August 1862.

 The regiment transferred into the 6th Army Corps in September 1862.  It began the Maryland Campaign guarding the Potomac River from White's Ford to Nolan's Ferry, 11 to 24 September, 1862, during the battles of South Mountain and Antietam.  Company "B" was captured at Nolin's Ford, 15 September.  The regiment moved to Downsville on 24 September and continued with picket duty along the Potomac until 1 November 1862.  Fought at Fredericksburg 12 to 15 December 1862, and endured Burnside's "Mud March" 20 to 24 January 1863, and moved to Falmouth until April.

The Chancellorsville spring campaign began 27 April lasting to 6 May 1863 and remained in the Fredericksburg vicinity including operations at Franklin's Crossing (29 April to 2 May), Fredericksburg and Maryes Heights (3 May), Salem Heights (3 to 4 May), and Bank's ford (4 May).  The regiment arrived on the field of Gettysburg on 2 July 1863 remaining there until 4 July in pursuit of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.

On conclusion of the Gettysburg Campaign, the regiment was stationed variously from Warrenton to Culpeper and participated in the Bristoe Campaign (9 to 22 October), advancing to the line of the Rappahannock River (7 to 8 November), and the Mine Run Campaign (26 November to 2 December).  On 30 December 1863, the regiment re-enlisted and veterans were furloughed to 11 February 1864.  The remainder of the regiment was transported to Johnson's Island, Sandusky, Ohio, to guard Confederate prisoners of war until 6 May 1864 when the regiment was re-assigned to Washington, D.C. and transported there 9 to 13 May 1864.  From there it moved to Belle Plains to guard Confederate prisoners of war and escort trains to the front. 

On 23 May 1864, the regiment was re-assigned to the 6th Army Corps and entered the Rapidan Campaign during which it was on the line of the North Anna River (23 to 26 May), the Pamunkey (26 to 28 May), the Totopotomoy (28 to 31 May), and Cold Harbor (1 to 12 June).  The regiment was advanced to Petersburg (17 to 19 June), Ream's Station on the Weldon Railroad (22 to 23 June), and the formal siege of Petersburg (until 9 July).

From 9 to 11 July, the regiment moved back to Washington, D.C. and participated in the repulse of Early's attack on the outskirts of the capitol 11 and 12 July 1864.  The 6th Army Corps was transferred to the Army of the Shenandoah and the regiment was included in those operations until 8 September 1864 when it was ordered home to be mustered out.  Veterans and recruits transferred into the 82nd Pennsylvania.

The regiment lost during service 5 officers and 110 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 3 officers and 70 enlisted men by disease for a total of 188 casualties. 

 

THE UNIFORM

One excellent source for the uniform of the 23rd Pennsylvania is Time-Life's Echoes of Glory - Arms and Equipment of the Union, pages 144-145, which shows actual uniform clothing in full color.  The jacket and pants are dark blue piped with a double row of thin red tape with a single row at the shoulder.  NCOs wore red chevrons.  The jacket was originally fitted with a false vest made integral to the jacket's front but giving the appearance of a vest worn under the jacket.  I did not add one to this figure.  A plain red waistband and plain government issue kepi completed the uniform.

Equipment was black leather and included the cartridge box, haversack, ammunition pouch with shoulder belt, percussion cap box, bayonet scabbard, and knapsack.  The blanket roll attached to the top of the knapsack was of varying shades of medium gray depending on manufacturer and service life. 

 

Making A PRIVATE FROM THE 23rd PENNSYLVANIA REGIMENT "BIRNEY'S ZOUAVES"

          Figure 1     

    

 

This figure is built from Shenandoah's 146th New York Zouave kit SHZ008 or SHZ009.  I modified the kit components by replacing the Zouave head with a standard kepi head and a tin cup. 

The kit parts have already been cleaned of seam lines and polished using a Dremel tool with a #428 wire brush.  For priming, I used Tamiya's Fine Gray primer.

After priming, the head will be glued into position looking slightly to the left.  The figure will then be mounted on its wood base ready for painting.  The other parts will be painted separately.

Figure 2

 

Figure 2 shows the primed figure on its flat base as supplied with the kit.  This will be mounted on a wood "working" base.

Figure 3 at right shows the figure mounted on its base with the face painted.

Figure 3

 

                                   Figure 4

Figure 4 shows the other components painted and ready to be attached to the figure.  The Springfield rifle-musket is painted with Andrea ANAC17 Dark Brown.  Vallejo's VC0864 Natural Steel was used to paint all metal components (barrel, lock plate, barrel bands, etc.).  A dark brown/black liner was applied to define the dark brown from the steel colors.  

The knapsack and straps are a mix of flat and glossy black.  The blanket roll is a medium gray washed with medium gray and earth brown. 

The arms are my mix of "French Uniform Blue".  The looped red cuff chevrons are painted using Vallejo VC0957 Flat Red.

 

Figure 5

Figure 5 shows completion of the figure's upper half.  The "regulation" uniform jacket had a false vest sewed to the jacket opening giving the impression of a dark blue vest.  I chose to eliminate the false vest and show the underlying plain white shirt.  Note placement of the canteen.

Figure 6 shows the completed figure less the arms and equipment.  Jacket detail is more apparent in this view.  It has double red piping which forms a trefoil at the bottom front on each side of the jacket.  The regiment did not wear the thick leather jambons normally seen at the top of the gaiters and worn by many other Zouave units.

Figure 6

 
 

Figure 6

 

 

Figure 6 shows the completed figure from the front and Figure 7 from the rear.  Note visible are the thin double red seam piping down the outside pant legs.  The number "23" in white on the knapsack is conjectural.

Note the single red piping at the shoulder edge. 

 

Figure 7

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

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

Time-Life Editors.  Echoes of Glory - Arms and Equipment of the Union.  Alexandria, Virginia: Time-Life Books, 1991.  See pages 144-145.

Troiani, Don.  Don Troiani's Regiments & Uniforms of the Civil War, Art by Don Troiani, text by Earl J. Coates, Michael J. McAfee, and Don Troiani.  Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2002 (see page 75 for an outstanding Coppens' Zouave Troiani full-color image).

 

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