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    Description

    Exceptionally Rare and Historic Uniform of Famed Birney's Zouaves. This amazing jacket, vest and trousers grouping belonged to Corporal William Stephens of Co. I, 23rd Pa. Vol. Infantry. The open, dark blue jacket is trimmed on the edges, down the front, on the seams and cuffs in bright red cord, with decorative loops on the chest. The front is closed by a simple brass eagle button that fastens through a decorative loop of red trim. On each sleeve are affixed two large, ribbed, red wool stripes denoting Stephens' rank. Inside, the brown polished cotton lining is clearly inked "W. Stephens." in the body of the jacket. The matching vest is trimmed at the collar and down the front in the same red cording. It fastens with nine small eagle "I" buttons (one missing) and has two small pockets at the waist. The polished cotton back is also marked "W. Stephens." on the inside in ink. There is some deterioration to the backing at the collar, and the vest has been professionally conserved at that point by textile expert Fonda Thompson of Keedysville, Md. The dark blue wool trousers have the same red cording down the outer seam, beside which has been sewn a ½" red stripe which probably reflected Stephen's rank of corporal. The pants are pleated at the top and straight-legged, with pockets in the outer seams and a small closure belt at the back vent. The waistband has a small watch pocket and is marked in ink with the soldier's name "W. Stephens." Photographs show the unit did not have any distinctive headgear and appear to simply have worn the regulation forage cap. With the uniform is a pair of white cotton gaiters with white bone buttons, typical of what would have been used with this rare uniform. Stephens was mustered into Co. I in August, 1861 and remained with the regiment until September 1864. Birney's Zouaves spent most of its service with the VI Corps and played especially pivotal roles at Fredericksburg in May 1863 and Gettysburg later that year. Not long after beginning active duty in the field, the regiment found their colorful uniforms to be impractical and slowly changed to Federal issue garb. This is not only exceedingly rare but also the most complete Birney's Zouaves uniform known to exist.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2008
    20th-21st Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,305

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