Zouave Uniform Outfits: Colors

Figure 1.--This 1/4 plate Ambrotype is cracked, but it is still a superb image of a young Civil War-era noy in a Zouave-styled outfit. The Ambro is tinted showing a red cap and trousers. Note the jacket which has not been colorized. There it is not indication as to the identity and location. The dealer, however, is in Maine, suggesting that the boy was from a northern state. The portrait is undated, but we would estimate rhat it was taken about 1860. Note the cracked glass plate. That was one of the disadvatages of Ambros.

The French Zouave uniform had a blue jacket with red trim and red baggy trousers. This was also the same color scheme used by Northern or Federal Zouave units. We suspect that the same color scheme was followed for boys' Zouave suits, at least in the North. There were both Federal and Confederate Zouave units, but the northern Zouaves are better known. There may have been different color combinations. in America. his may have particulsarly been the case in the Southern United States where blue jackets looked too much like Northern or Federal uniforms. There may have also been grey jackets. While the color of the jackets may have varied, but the cap and bloomers we believe were very commonly red. The elaborate embroidery and aplique used on these suits was commonly, but not always done in contrasting colors. There of course was no color photography at the time. There are, however, several sources of information on color, including vintage garments, period color illustrations, paintings, and colorized photographs. The most valid information is the actual garments.


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Created: 11:10 PM 1/23/2009
Last updated: 11:10 PM 1/23/2009