Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another Manassas Commemoration is history

I'm finally settling back into my normal routine following the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Manassas or Bull Run, depending upon which side of the Mason Dixon line you live on. Over 8,000 reenactors/ living historians gathered to commorate one of the first (don't forget Big Bethel) land engagements of the Civil War. The weekend was characterized by EXTREME heat and humidity which curtailed physical activity. There were some great historical impressions to be seen with several units making the effort to represent those standout units that fought at the battle. Unfortunately I did not take very many pictures as keeping cool and hydrated was the order of the day all day. The weekend did leave me with not only a deeper appreciation for the men that not only fought that day but the entire course of the war.

Fire Zouaves sit and relax before battle Saturday morning.
Note they all wear red overshirts. Civilian shirts as well as
Federal issue donnet flannel were also worn.

The front of the Fire Zouave's shebang denoting members
of the Columbian Engine No. 14. residing inside. This Engine
 Company had the largest number of members of any other
Fire company in the Fire Zouaves.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Original paintings for sale

I'm offering a small selection of original paintings for sale. If you're interested follow the link to Planet figure. Here is what's available.

2nd Virginia
8 X 10
Acrylic on board framed

"The Red Shirt"
8 X 10
Acrylic on board framed

Grenadier, Regiment Von Reidesel
8 X 10
Acrylic on board framed

Sergeant, 18th Line Regiment
8 X 10
Oil on Gessoboard framed

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fire Zouave Uniform

It will be interesting to see the multitude of uniforms representing both sides that will be at the 150th (anniversary) Commemoration next week. It's interesting to ponder the confusion that took place at times with each side wearing essentially the same uniforms in certain cases.

Pictured above is a red wool flannel over shirt with a black
neckerchief with a Firemen's badge.Topping it off is a red
and blue kepi. The kepi would also have a Company
letter, in this case E with "1Z"standing for "First Zouaves"
 under the Company letter. I'll be adding mine at the event.

When Elmer Ellsworth Recruited his regiment in New York City he was specific as to the type of men he wanted for his regiment. "I want the New York Firemen," Ellsworth said, "for there are no more effective men in the country, and none with whom I can do so much. They are sleeping on a volcano at Washington and I want men who can go into a fight now." Given the large number of Firemen in the ranks, many took to wearing their badges on their uniforms. It's those little touches that help to make a uniform stand out. That little touch has been added to today's Fire Zouaves.

Fifty reproduction badges representing
Columbian Hook & Ladder Co. 14 were
specially made for the event.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

So you wanna be a Fire Zouave?

I love a happy accident. By chance I realized a few month's back that I had a week of vacation that takes place on the 150th Anniversary of the 1st Battle of Manassass (1st Bull Run). Within a few days I had contacted some folks and found myself falling in with the 11th New York Volunteers, or more famously the Fire Zouaves". After getting the wife's blessing to go off to war I then had a lot of work ahead of me. The big hurdle was a uniform. By the time of Manassass the showy "zouave" dress associated with the 11th was on it's last leg. A new uniform was issued but was of Government issue not to the zouave's liking. The Government then hastily issued red fezzes and blue sashes which were worn with dark blue issue trousers and red over shirts. A group uniform "package" was put together for those that needed a uniform ( ME ) with the downside in my opinion being the quality of the garments. So I could either go with the $100 kepi, shirt, and trousers ( cost for all) or an unknown amount for top shelf reproductions. I jumped in with both feet and choose the latter. I had a fantastic reproduction of the Fire Zouaves kepi made that coat $85, and that's without the brass "E" company letter and "1Z" which adds another $5 to $10. My choices for a shirt were a red overshirt ( didn't have to be a Fireman's shirt ), Federal issue shirt ( which I had ), or other civilian pattern shirt. I decided to pursue the red over shirt option with the Federal issue as my fallback. I found a young lady that had a small number of red flannel over shirt kits available. After a few weeks and $110 later I have an accurate over shirt. The shirt is also accented with a black neckerchief tied sailor fashion adding another $16.
I still have a pair of dark blue Federal issue trousers on the way ( $185...ouch! ). The neatest touch to all of this is going to be a custom made reproduction Fireman's badge of which only 50 were being made costing $30. I'll do another posting of the entire ensemble once everything is here. There are a few minor things which I may pass on as they won't necessarily take away from my impression.

Participating in at least some of the 150th Commemorations will no doubt fuel some inspiration and drive which is lacking these HOT summer days. Further posts will also include those projects inspired by this event.