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The Zouave uniform was patterned after the tribal costume worn by a Berber tribe of North Africa, a desert uniform. Thus it was and is much more comfortable than the wool gray or butternut uniforms worn by other Confederate units. The loose fitting and baggy pants are very comfortable in hot weather.
The bright red baggy trousers, with blue tombo at the sides, are bloused at the ankle using white canvas gaiters. Sometimes over the upper part of the canvas gaiters is worn a pair of short leather leggings. The trousers are held up with a pair of suspenders. The bright blue shell jacket did not close at the front and is decorated with red tombo at the front.
Underneath the jacket is a blue vest that buttons on the side. Underneath the vest a period style long sleeve shirt is worn. The shirt varied from soldier to soldier. There was no set pattern of shirt. These were usually home spun and made by the soldiers mother or wife. Over the vest and top of the trousers is wound a very long sky blue sash.
The head gear originally worn was a red fez with a tassel. This resulted in the comment that Zouaves were tanned more darkly that most men seen during the period. In our company we ware a wide variety of period head gear. Slouch hats, kepis, forage caps, straw hats, etc.
Shoes are period brogans. Period brogans have wood-pegged soles. On the heels are iron heel plates. But in re-enacting any work-style boot that resembles a brogan will work.
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A very handsome 1st Louisiana Zouave
(not wearing the shell jacket)
RE-ENACTED COMPANY COMMAND
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