Make your own free website on
What Is A Zouave?

What is a Zouave?

"A fellow with a red bag having sleeves to it for a coat; with two red bags without sleeves to them for trousers, with an embroidered and braided bag for a vest, with a cap like a red woolen saucepan; with yellow boots like the fourth robber in a stage play; with a mustache like two half-pound paint brushes, and with a sort of a sword-gun for a weapon, that looks like the result of a love affair between an amorous broadsword and a lonely musket; discreet and tender--that is a Zouave."

"A fellow who can pull up a hundred and ten pound dumbbell: who can climb up an eighty foot rope, hand over hand, with a barrel of flour hanging to his heels; who can do the "giant swing" on a horizontal bar with a fifty-six tied to each ankle; who can walk up four flights of stairs, holding a heavy man in each hand, at arms length; and who can climb a greased pole feet first carrying a barrel of pork in his teeth--that is a Zouave."

"A fellow who can jump seven-teen feet four inches high without a spring board; who can tie his legs in a double bow knot round his neck without previously softening his shin bones in a steam bath; who can walk bound in (a) tight rope with his stomach outside of nine brandy cocktails, a suit of chain armor outside his stomach, and a stiff northeast gale outside of that; who can take a five shooting revolver in each hand and knock the spots off the ten of diamonds at eighty paces, turning somersaults all the time and firing every shot in the air -- that is a Zouave."

Posted in the Rockford, IL newspaper by one of the Chicago Zouave Cadets, a "Doesticks P.B."

Back the Civil War Zouave Database Homepage

Website and image copyright Shaun Grenan.