Home | History | Publications | Links | Contact Us

Anderson Zouaves Research

"Uniform of the Anderson Zouaves." (2006) by John Tierney

Line Company - Anderson Zouaves
Private William H. Caldwell - Co. H

Co I., joined the regiment late in the recruitment process and was a company of Zouaves which defected from the 55th New York (Lafayette Garde) when the then Colonel, Le Gal, appeared somewhat hesitant to get the unit to the seat of war. After the 55th got it's act together Co. I., actually wanted to rejoin the the Lafayette Garde but were refused permission (this is accordingto De Trobriand in "Four Years Campaigning with the Army of the Potomac").

It is not clear why it is the case, but the Advanced Guard of the 62nd had a uniform almost completely different from that of the line companies of the 62nd (except that it was Zouave). Perhaps it was the uniform they were to wear in the Lafayette Garde. Maybe Riker, proud of his new recruits, some of which are said to have fought in the Crimea and have served in North Africa, decided to set this company apart from the rest of the regiment. In any case the uniform of the Advanced Guard was a very close copy of the French 3eme Zouave regiment.

The jacket is a typical dark blue zouave style with a five piece body with each panel having red cord or piping sewn to the seam where it joins its neighbouring panel. The lace on the front and the following the edge of the jacket is half inch wide red worsted wool and was machine sewn about half an inch in from the edge. At the point at which the lace completes the oval tombeau at the bottom front of the jacket the lace continues past itself and on to the front edge of the jacket where it sews into the seam. Inside the tombeau is a field of coloured wool. In the case of the Anderson Zouaves it is "jonquille" or a yellow-orange colour, with an ornate "A" and "Z" monogram hand embroidered in eggshell coloured thread onto each. The arms are of two piece constuction with a long split on the underside joined by a number of hooks and eyes. I assume that this split is for the practical purpose of allowing the private to roll up the sleeves of his jacket, but would be happy to be corrected. The cuff and split is decorated with the same red lace as the jacket body.

The trousers are constructed of four pieces of madder red wool. One broad piece forms the front and another the back. On each side there are two rectangular pieces of fabric which joined the front and back panels. The seams where these panels join are hidden by a strip of dark green Russia braid. Vertically centre on these side panels are pockets and around these is a hungarian knot design made of the same dark green Russia braid mentioned above.

There is also a typical zouave waistcoat which was joined by two buttons on the right shoulder and three down the side. There is no surviving example of this waistcoat but it is thought to be same as the 9th New York's.

In addition the Advanced Guard wore gaiters, jambiers, a red fez with a blue tassel, and a long sky blue flannel sash.

There seems to be a temptation to describe the uniform of the line company zouaves of the 62nd as being some sort of variant of this Advance Company uniform, but in imagining this uniform it is probably much better to keep im mind the uniform of the Ellsworth Zouaves.

The jacket of the line company zouaves of the 62nd is like that of the Advanced Guard with the following exceptions. The red lace sits closer to the edge of the jacket. There is no red piping on the seams. There is no coloured insert in the tombeaus and no monograms.

The trousers are sky blue and less full than the traditional zouave pantaloons. As already mentioned they were of a cut similar to that of the Ellsworth Zouaves, with a one inch wide white stripe running down the outer seam. There are cotton gaiters with the uniform but they do not appear to be as high as those of the Advanced Guard

The line company zouaves appear not to have had a waistcoat, instead opting for a flannel shirt beneath the jacket.

All the evidence seems to indicate that line company privates were originally issued a cap rather than a fez, but there is also evidence to suggest that some privates obtained fezes for their uniform as a private purchase after the original issue of their uniform. The uniform is noted in a newspaper article from the time as having been sewn by the "Astor ladies" and J. J. Astor was a benefactor of the regiment. In recognition of this support the Camp of the 62nd on Riker's Island was named Camp Astor.

Even the 62nd's Colonel, John Lafayette Riker, adopted this line company uniform for a period. Following is a quote regarding it is from "Civil War Curiosities" by Webb Garrison, 1994.

"Perhaps the most ridiculous dress donned in preperation for meeting the enemy in battle was worn by officers of numerous Zouave units that were raised in the North. When Col. John L. Riker led his men from Camp Astor to a Washington-bound train, he was a sight to see. His light blue trousers, extremely baggy, were topped by a loose jacket of darker blue. Wearing a crimson shirt, the Zouave officer displayed on his head a red fez whose long blue tassel was decorated with gold."

According to the chroniclers of Peck's brigade, after the mud, toils and battles of the advance up the Peninsula, the uniform of the brigade was replaced. De Trobriand clearly states that the uniform of the 55th's remaining zouave company was replaced with a more practicle Federal uniform and I assume the same was the case for the 62nd. Exactly when this was I am unsure but I am convinced that it was after Seven Oaks and most likely at Harrison's Landing after the change of base to the James River.

I know of only three pictures of members of the line company in zouave uniform and none of the Advanced Company. An example of the Advanced Guard trousers and jacket is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institute.

Line Company - Anderson Zouave
Private William F. V. Lewis - Co. E