Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Midlist Writer blog, where he talks about writing, adventure travel, caving, and everything else he gets up to. He also reproduces all the posts from Civil War Horror, so drop on by!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for Zouave

At the outset of the Civil War, the familiar blue vs. gray color scheme hadn't been fully adopted. Northern troops had uniforms of various colors, including gray, and many Southerners had no uniforms at all. Some units had elaborate outfits, and none were more famous than the Zouaves.

The Zouaves took their colorful uniforms from North African French colonial troops. Most Zouave units were from the North, like the New York unit that wore the uniform pictured here. There were some Southern Zouave units as well..

Zouaves got a lot of attention for their flashy duds, and some fought as light infantry like their North African namesakes, rather than in the closed formations used by regular units.

Zouave units are popular at reenactments, and one of my fellow Osprey Publishing authors, Robin Smith, reenacts the Civil War as part of the 5th New York DuryƩes Zouaves. So. . .he's an Englishman pretending to be a New Yorker pretending to be a North African in the French Army! It takes a special breed to write for Osprey. :-)

Photo courtesy Matthew G. Bisanz.


  1. Think I would feel silly in the hat though.

  2. I've never heard of Zuoaves...thanks for the education. I'm kinda thinking you wouldn't want bright uniforms in the woods?

    Yay, we made it!

  3. I've never heard of these guys being in the Civil War, but I've heard that name, Zouave. I would think that sort of tailoring by hand would have cost the regiment a few dollars.

    Interesting post, Sean, and a fitting end to the Challenge. Congrats on getting it done!

  4. Yeah, I'd never heard of this, either.

  5. Hi Sean .. I love the uniform and Zuoaves is a great word .. good for you and interesting info ..

    Cheers for now - Hilary

  6. Colourful! It has many similarities to Mongolian troop uniforms, the ones they wear at special occasions.

    Thanks a lot stopping by my blog and good luck to your friend who is doing the Prague-Ulaanbaatar rally. I will be there in July. So who knows might bump into them?! :)


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