Both the Confederate and Union armies boasted regiments of fierce Zouave fighters. The origin of the Zouave military tradition lies in North Africa with the Berbers. During the French colonization of Algeria in the 1830s, French forces came in contact with Berber fighters who sported stunning uniforms and fighting prowess. French soldiers adapted the Zouave-styled uniform and with their victories in the Crimean Wars in the mid-1850s, military units in the United States were styling themselves as Zouave soldiers.
This particular uniform jacekt belonged to the 41st New York Infantry Regiment, also known as the DeKalb Zouaves. This unit drew its members from German immigrant communities in both Philadelphia and New York.
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