Description

    A Spectacular Civil War Zouave Complete Uniform (and Accoutrements) - The Uniform of W. Beriah Chandler, Battle of Gettysburg, Little Round Top This Zouave complete uniform is an incredible rarity, complete with the jacket with ornate chevrons, ballooned, chasseur-style pants, sash and leggings plus the very rare fez hat - and more. Zouave uniform sets are very rare, only a few are known to exist. This grouping is extremely rare in that it is in prime condition and is attributed to a soldier who fought at Gettysburg. Amazingly, it is accompanied by Private, later 'Principal Musician' W, Beriah Chandler's leggings, leather gaiters - even his sky-blue canteen and Drum Major's baton.

    W. Beriah Chandler enlisted at Whitestown, New York on October 6, 1862 for the duration of the war, leaving service after the war as a 2nd Lieutenant. He was a member of the 146th New York Infantry, the Garrard's Tigers under the command of West Point graduate Colonel Kenner Garrard. The regiment would first be assigned to the defenses of Washington, DC but would soon see battle at Fredericksburg and then Chancellorsville. However, important to this uniform, Colonel Garrard had succeeded in obtaining new Zouave uniforms for his soldiers, including Beriah Chandler, just before the most important battle of the Civil War - Gettysburg.

    According to historical evidence of the delivery of the unit's uniforms, W. Beriah Chandler was issued this Zouave uniform on June 3, 1863, just one month before he would see battle at Gettysburg. Manufactured at the famed Schuylkill Arsenal, Colonel Garrard made several trips to check on the progress of the uniforms' manufacture before their delivery. Designed according to the Turcos pattern of the French Army, unlike the traditional Zouave designs, these uniforms would have yellow piping, lace and edge work, making them even more distinctive and rare.

    This uniform, as were the entire Schuylkill Arsenal uniforms made for the 146th New York, were entirely hand-sewn. The sky-blue jacket and ballooned chasseur-style pants are made from twilled wool. The jacket is a six-piece design with two-piece sleeves and is lined with jean material. A beautiful yellow ½" lace trim accents the jacket's border and on the front on the typical Zouave pattern. The back of the jacket is double-vented. A chevron is applied on each lower sleeve and intersects the sleeve just above the second of the three small eagle functioning cuff buttons that are on each sleeve. There is a Schuylkill Arsenal stencil inside the right sleeve and the jacket fastens at the front top with a looped and braided blue cord with a pin. The jacket is in overall excellent condition.

    The most striking features of the jacket are the 'Principal Musician' insignias with three arcs over three inverted chevrons with a central five-pointed star made from gold braid that are sewn to each sleeve. Chandler would have had these applied to his uniform after the Battle of Gettysburg since he was promoted to Principal Musician on July 31, 1864 after his unit participated at the Mine Explosion during the Siege of Petersburg.

    The chasseur trousers are unique to this Zouave unit as well. These blue wool trousers are untrimmed and have a wider waistband than other Zouave pants. There are 7" long pockets on each side and the pants have a six-button front with two buttons missing.

    At the rear of the trousers there is a buckle used to adjust the fit at the waist. The trousers have a baggy appearance and have small buttons that function at the bottom of the pant leg. There is a watch pocket at the top right waist where the front of the pants are gathered. The overall condition of the pants is good with some holes midway down the front and at the seat. There is also a Schuylkill Arsenal stencil inside the pants at the back center as well.

    The accompanying fez and tassel are wool as well and are a departure from the Turcos design in that Colonel Garrard had them made with a yellow tassel instead of the Turcos blue. The fez is made of fine red wool with a fine gold cloth trim while the tassel is of heavy wool yard and a macramé-capped acorn.

    The red sash is made of red light wool and is approximately 11" wide allowing for shrinkage. It is approximately 103" long and has a hand-stitched yellow piping along the border on one side and is in excellent condition. An additional, narrower 5" sash approximately 90"long, including the long tassels, is included and was worn over the wider sash. This sash has several tears toward one end and is slightly faded from its original redder tone.

    It is even more rare that the leggings and gaiters are present to complete this rare grouping of a Zouave uniform. In the uniform of Private, later Principal Musician Chandler we have the complete set of leather leggings that were worn to protect the leg above the ankle toward the knee. While they have obviously seen much use, the buckles and even the lacings are still present.

    The heavy cloth white gaiters that were worn under the leggings are completely intact with the buttons complete on the inside as well as the bottom arch support buttons.

    Chandler would have certainly worn this uniform as he led the musicians in their cadence and music that the 146th New York would hear at drill, marching into combat, even as the musicians would play patriotic music to intimidate the enemy, often picking up weapons when the fighting came close at hand. But duty as a musician was no easy task during the Civil War. The hard fighting units such as the Zouaves, the cavalry units under General George Armstrong Custer and General Philip Sheridan all had fighting musicians who played inspirational music on the front lines. Indeed, General Custer demanded a mounted band in his 7th Cavalry after the war.

    In that sense, Chandler would see his share of action, especially at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863. The 146th New York Infantry would be under General Weed's brigade that day as they charged up Little Round Top. As Weed was killed, the regiment was part of the first troops to reach and hold 'Round Top Ridge'. Colonel Garrard would be promoted to Brigadier General for his and his unit's bravery that day. From that engagement we not only have Chandler's uniform but his canteen as well.

    Owned and carried by Chandler, this Hadden, Porter and Booth Model 1858 canteen was manufactured in Philadelphia. It has its original sky-blue wool cloth covering and heavy white strap. The cork has been replaced and there is a 4" tear of the cloth on one side at the bottom left. There is only slight rusting underneath the cloth, otherwise, this canteen is in excellent condition.

    As a the leader of the musicians in his unit, Chandler would play a ceremonial role as well, leading the band in ceremonies, particularly in parades whenever the occasion arose. One such event was the Grand Review "Victory Parade" at Washington, DC just after the war on May 23, 1865. From this service in the Civil War we have Chandler's Drum Major baton. At a full four feet in length, this wooden and brass baton is wrapped in blue and white woolen cording and has a 7 ½" massive brass cap. This heavy brass globular device measures 13" in diameter and has seen much field wear. Engraved in a foliate design, it has many dents and scratches and tapers to the wooden staff where it is attached with two screws. A 1" brass cap is attached to the bottom of the baton.

    This is an amazing archive from a Zouave soldier in the Civil War. Not only is the uniform complete, in excellent condition, but also is attributed to a specific soldier who fought at Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg and later marched proudly in the Grand Review at the close of the war. The fact that we have the accouterments of his canteen and Drum Major's baton make this an especially rare and historic collection.

    Provenance: Direct Descent From the Chandler Family

    Authentication: Les Jensen




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    Auction Dates
    June, 2007
    24th-25th Sunday-Monday
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