Saturday, June 11, 2011

150-Years-Ago -- The Zou-Zous Arrive in Richmond

Members of th 1st Battalion Louisiana Zouaves who were captured or deserted. (Harper's Weekly July 21, 1861)

 The Richmond Daily Dispatch
June 8, 1861

Richmond was yesterday thrown into a paroxysm of excitement by the arrival of the New Orleans Zouaves — a battalion of six hundred and thirty, as unique and picturesque looking Frenchmen as ever delighted the oculars of Napoleon the three.--They are just from Pensacola, which they left about eight days ago; having laid over one day at Montgomery. Ala., and are probably en route for Manassas.

The following is list of the officers:
Lieut. Col., G. Coppens.
Major W. Hillested.
Surgeon Ashton Miles.
Adjutant F. C. Zacharle.
L. Ange, Captain, Co. "A."
G. Fabre, 1st Lieutenant Ge. "A."
L. Florence, 2d Lieutenant Co. "A."
M. George, 3d Lieutenant Co. "A."
F. Bordinare, Capt. Co. "B."
D. Alexandrie, 1st Lieutenant.
R. Duaros, 2d Lieutenant.
C. Boumer, 3d Lieutenant.
H. H. Zacharie, Captain Co. "C."
V. Minot, 1st Lieutenant.
W. Frerit, 2d Lieutenant.
J. McNeil, 3d Lieutenant.
N. Lauve, Captain Co. "D."
C. Mansoul, 1st Lieutenant.
C. Lettellier, 2d Lieutenant.
A. Gaillard, 3d Lieutenant.
F. De Gournay, Captain Co. "E."
S. Pierson, 1st Lieutenant.
J. Kean, 2d Lieutenant.
A. Robira, 3d Lieutenant.
A. Copens, Captain Co. "F."
O. Lauve, 1st Lieutenant.
W. F. Foxter, 2d Lieutenant.
A. Holfin, 3d Lieutenant.

The volunteers were originally called for by its Lieut. Colonel, on the 17th of March last, and such was the alacrity with which the response was met, that on the 8th of April four hundred men started for Pensacola, where they were subsequently joined by two more companies, making the battalion complete. They have there been engaged in throwing up fortifications, and are said to have been the favorite soldiers of Gen. Bragg. If anybody wishes to see genuine French Zouaves, just as they looked in the Crimea, scrutinize these brave fellows. They are generally small, but wiry, muscular, active as cats, and brown as a side of sole leather. Twenty or thirty are New Orleans Irishmen, one hundred or thereabouts are Swiss, and quite a number are Germans, but the majority are American Frenchmen. Many of them served in the Crimea, and the whole body is ready at this moment to storm purgatory, were the order given to do so, if that uncomfortable place was so full of abolitionists that their heads stuck out of the windows. Their dress is the attire and material of the regular French Zouave — embroidered blue jackets, red baggy trousers, black leather leggins and white gaiters — the costume being surmounted by the inevitable red cap, which rests jauntily upon the back of their short-cropped heads.

Just now, as may be expected after eight days of travel, they look painfully , but after they have indulged themselves as their ordinary ablutions, they will make a show that will wake up several ideas to the effect that the South are able to produce the ne plus ultra of genuine fighting stock, in whose knowledge of the English language no such word as "fail" has ever made an intrusion. Their great desire is to meet the "pet lambs" of the late Colonel Ellsworth,-in-which we trust they will be speedily accommodated. If they do, they will walk through the New York rowdies like a whirlwind. Their principal fare, since leaving Pensacola, has been crackers, cheese, and whiskey, and they are in sad want of more substantial aliment.

They also want knapsacks and shoes, which will doubtless be supplied to them before their departure for camp. Many of them strolled through the streets during the afternoon and attracted general attention, but there was no public parade. They are quartered in Glazebrook's warehouse, near the Petersburg depot, a five-story building; but they disdained to come down stairs like ordinary mortals, and descended in characteristic style from the windows. The modus operandi of this performance was something like the following: One would hang by his hands to the window sill; a second would slide down his back and freeze to his heels, while the third taking one of his smaller companions by a strong nip at the seat of his breeches, as a sort of ballast, we suppose, would turn four or five somersaults and roll down the novel bridge into the window of the story below. We didn't see these gymnastics, but this is "what they say."

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