Louisiana in the Civil War
In June 1861, thousands of Louisiana soldiers began shipping out to Tennessee and Virginia to meet the Yankee invaders. One of the first to go was Col. Gaston Coppens’ battalion of Zouaves (“zwahvs”).
Coppens’ battalion was one of several Louisiana units that adopted the uniform of the French Algerian Zouaves. There were several variations of the colorful outfit, but a typical Zouave wore a red fez; dark blue, loose-fitting jacket trimmed and embroidered with gold cord; dark blue vest with yellow trim; blue cummerbund; baggy red pantaloons; black leather leggings; and white gaiters. Add a musket, bayonet and bowie knife, and the Zouave somewhat resembled a heavily armed Shriner.