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Union Soldiers With Baggy Red Pants?


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#1 Royals17

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Posted 09 September 2003 - 03:26 PM

In the past few civil war movies I have recently watched, I have noticed that there are men that have baggy red pants and odd red hats on. I've heard that they were German immigrant soldiers but I dont know if that is true or not. If anyone has any answers, please let me know. Thanks!

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#2 appell8

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Posted 09 September 2003 - 03:41 PM

Those are "Zouave" soldiers, so named because they modelled their uniforms after French North African units which had toured the US giving exhibitions. These were not regular army outfits, but local militias who adopted their own uniforms when they joined up. I know that there were some New York units that were Zouave outfits, and even, I think, one or two Confederate units at the beginnning of the war.


I would be surprised if German immigrants formed a Zouave outfit, since I would imagine that the fancy dress would cost more than most immigrants would want to shell out.

Just a top-of-the-head answer. There's much more to say about the Zouaves.

#3 Royals17

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Posted 09 September 2003 - 03:46 PM

Thank you appell8. That answers my question perfectly. It's amazing that you have such great knowledge. Thanks for the reply! Talk to you later.

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#4 Jiggersfromsphilly

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Posted 09 September 2003 - 05:35 PM

There were many Union Zouaves

33rd New Jersey

11th New York
1st Fire Zouaves

44th New York
Elsworth's Avengers

23 rd PA
Bimey Zouaves

72nd PA
Baxter's Fire Zouaves

95th PA
Goslines Zouaves

8th Mass.
Salem Zouaves

19th Illinois Zouaves


Confederate ones were


2nd Maryland Infantry Regiment Zouaves

Maryland Guard Zouaves

Courtesy of my friend Big Ed, a fat renactor from the 72nd PA Zouaves

OODA!
Jiggersfromsphilly

Edited by Jiggersfromsphilly, 09 September 2003 - 06:24 PM.


#5 Kiwiwriter

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Posted 10 September 2003 - 08:29 AM

Some of the Zouaves owed their origins to being "Pals" outfits of volunteer or professional firefighters, who wore red uniforms in their civilian jobs.

Needless to say, the realities of war made the red pants highly visible targets. I'm not sure if they were still being worn in 1865.

#6 gman992

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 02:58 PM

Many immigrant groups fought in the Civil War.... One of the biggest problems was the that Drill Soldiers had to give an order an English, then have a translator translate it into German, French, Dutch, etc...


Just imagine doing that on a battlefield....good "duck and cover" is universal!

#7 Royals17

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 07:50 PM

HAHA! Thanks for the info everyone!

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#8 Bigjohn

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Posted 13 September 2003 - 11:40 AM

There is a group picture of one of the NY Zouve Companies in the Met.. I am told that my Great Uncle Peter (Whos Navy Colt I have) Is in the third row...

#9 Custermen

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Posted 15 September 2003 - 10:46 AM

One Confederate unit was the Louisiana Tiger Zouaves.
Here is a weblink that lists many of the Union and Confederate Zouaves.
Zouave Date Base = http://shaung.tripod.com/cwuni.html

Zouaves were originally a French military unit comprised of North African natives and French officers organized in Algiers in 1830. They quickly established themselves as an elite unit. Their uniform became popluar among many of the militias in the US. Because of this popularity, many units were formed at the outbreak of the war and dressed in this style of uniform. However, after months of combat and exposure to climate and conditions in the field, the units were unable to consistently provide new uniform issues to their men. So, eventually these units were forced to adopt regulation dress.

Books on Zouave units = http://www.bookguy.c...tary/zouave.htm

BTW, the Zouaves are usually portrayed carrying a shortened Springfield rifle. The Model 1863 Springfield was produced in 1863 and became known as the "Zouave Rifle", even though they were not specifically made for that purpose. Replicas of this rifle has been sold on the market since the 1960's.
The rifle had a 33 inch barrel held in place with 2 bands. Since the rifle was shorter, a longer bayonet was issued for use with this weapon.

Zouave Rifle = http://www.tsra.com/Contract.htm

Rifle PHotos = http://www.euroarms..../Scheda2255.htm

BTW, during WW2, the French army still had units designated as Zouaves and their uniforms were the basic US government issue clothing, helmet, and equipment. An odd twist of history.

Steve


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#10 appell8

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Posted 15 September 2003 - 10:48 AM

Steve, excellent, thorough answer. Thanks, Doug

#11 Royals17

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Posted 15 September 2003 - 08:57 PM

WOW! Thanks for the great answers!

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#12 Jimmydoorknobs

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Posted 15 September 2003 - 09:55 PM

I have wondered for some time if the Zoueves were to battle the ZuLus, whether the short rifles or short spears would prevail.

Edited by Jimmydoorknobs, 15 September 2003 - 09:56 PM.


#13 Kiwiwriter

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Posted 16 September 2003 - 08:06 AM

The French Army was also wearing the red pants and kepis into battle as late as 1914, so that their bloodstains would not show. They marched in those red pants straight into the German machine-guns in the Battle of the Frontiers, which was the bloodiest battle of World War I, and they were slaughtered.

After that, the French ditched the red pants, dug trenches, and wore "horizon bleu" uniforms and helmets.

#14 Custermen

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Posted 18 September 2003 - 12:00 PM

I had a Zouave Rifle(replica, of course) for awhile. I think I paid $100 for it. The previous owner had installed a venier tang peep sight. But I didn't like it. The rifling in the barrel didn't seem to have deep enough. A Minie ball was too loose and the patched round ball had to be hammered down the barrel. (I get uneasy when I have to hammer on top of black powder.)
I fired it once in a cotton field. We walked the turn-rows down to an ole abandoned farm house. I fired into the side of the house and then checked to see how many wood-paneled walls the bullet penetrated through.
Reenactors have a problem with the Zouave Rifle. They don't like it. Why? Well, when the company fires by ranks, it turns and faces so that it is 2 ranks deep. The second rank has to be close to the first so that man in front of him is half way between the muzzle and the breech. If the front man is too close to the muzzle, he will have a ringing in his ears. If he is too close to the breech, he could get powder burns from the ingnition.
The Zouave is just too short for this. The standard 3-band Enfield has a 44-inch barrel, I believe, where as the Zouave has about 33 inches. Don't hold me to that. I still don't know why Zouave units preferred the shorter rifle---if they in fact did.

Custermen




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