Right now I’m reading On Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington National Cemetery, by Robert M. Poole – a 2009 publication. Just getting into it, cruising along, not much to complain about (though I think I need to write up something on just who offered Robert E. Lee command of what). But then I roll across this:
Colonel Elmer E. Ellsworth, commander of the 1st New York Zouaves, piled into a steamboat with his men and sailed toward Alexandria. This dandified regiment of firemen-soldiers was hard to miss, decked out in their red pantaloons, tasselled caps and white spats and brewing for a brawl.
Jeez Louise. I won’t go into what the 11th New York Infantry, Ellsworth’s Fire Zouaves did and did not wear and when they did and did not wear it. Click on “Zouaves” in the tag cloud at the bottom of the right hand column of this page and you’ll find lots of articles on the topic. The most definitive one is here.
Thanks to Douglas Adams for the title of this post.