History Tuesday


Hello everyone, here we are at Tuesday afternoon and guess what I have a bloody cold it is really annoying, I had a 2hr nap after taking some cold tablets because Tim picked Leo up from school, this made Leo really happy as he picked him up on the motorbike.

Anyway since it is Tuesday it is history Tuesday and what to write about after thinking I decided on this post about Zouave. During the American Civil War there were men in the Zouave uniform fighting.

Zouave? What is that you asked, well let me tell you……………………………………..

Well, it all starts in North Africa…

Makes total sense, right?

The Zouaves originated in the 1830s in North Africa. They were recruited from the Zouaoua (a Berber tribe) and became one of the most elite fighting units in the French Army of Algeria.

They were not only known for their fighting qualities, but also for their distinctive and heavily tasseled uniforms. These usually included brightly coloured, baggy pantaloons and bright turbans and fez hats.

So there were a bunch of North African tribesmen wearing crazy uniforms fighting in the American Civil War?

Not quite…

Actually, this is what happened. The Zouave fighters became well known around the world and it became popular for militia units around the world to try to emulate their outlandish uniforms. The volunteer units raised for the Civil War were no exception…

Early in the war, when almost everyone (on both sides) thought it would be nothing more than a quick adventure, volunteer militias devised uniforms that they thought would make them look very “grand” as they heroically marched off to battle. For many units, in both the north and south, this meant dressing like the famous Zouave fighters from North Africa.


The uniform above was worn by a soldier in a Union Zouave regiment from New York.

During the Civil War, many of the Zouave units adopted fighting styles more closely related to that of the North African fighters than to traditional infantry warfare. This often included a preference for light infantry style open formations, prone firing and reloading, and movement at double time rather than regular marching.

As the war wore on and militia units became part of the regular armies, many Zouave units began to disappear. This was due in a large part to the fact that the elaborate uniforms were very expensive to make. Although some Union regiments were issued Zouave uniforms in recognition of battlefield performance, many Zouave units disappeared as they were forced to adopt regular army uniforms.

Without a doubt, the Zouave Civil War uniforms were some of the most colourful, but they are not the only uniforms with interesting stories behind them………………but they will do for this post………….


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