Uniform Study: 146th New York
by Christopher J. Daley

One of the first units to crest the summit of Little Round Top on July 2, 1863 was the 146th New York Volunteers (Garrard's Tigers). They did so with brand Zouave new uniforms issued to them a month earlier on June 3rd. This article will give a brief description of that uniform.

They were formed in September of 1862, and were one of the few units to muster in as a regular volunteer unit, but receive zouave status mid way though the war.

They were formally brigaded with the 5th New York (Duryee's Zouaves) and before Chancellorsville 325 of the 5th's veterans were transferred to fight with the future zouave unit.

In January 1864, both the 140th New York and 155th Pennsylvania were also issued distinctive variations of the Zouave uniform—thus with the 146th, formed the Fifth Corps’ Zouave Brigade.  Later reinforced by the 5th New York Veteran Zouaves, the colorful brigade stayed together until Appomattox.
-Corporal Frederick Ernst
146th NYSV "Garrard's Tigers

The Influence of the Turcos
In the winter of 1863 after receiving the zouave status, the commander of the 146th NYSV and West Point graduate Colonel Kenner Garrard needed to come up with a style for his unit's new suit of clothes.

While most zouave units formed during the Civil War based thier uniforms of French Zouaves with the traditional blue jacket and red pantaloons, Colonel Garrard had a different design in mind. The new Zouave uniform was based upon the 'Tirailleurs Algerians' or Turcos of the French army. The Turcos were native Algerian troops rather than Frenchmen. The uniform would become one of the most distinctive and recognizable of the war.

Raised in Algeria, the Turcos consisted primarily of native Arabic and Turkish rank and file and NCOs commanded by French officers. They achieved a reputation as an extremely savage force, often repeatedly hacking at even dead bodies.

The Turcos uniform was identical in style to the French Zouaves, but with the following changes: All the edging and lace is yellow, the false pockets are red, the sash is red, the fez tassel is sky-blue, and the pants are sky blue with yellow knot work. Many of the Tirailleurs also wore white turbans instead of the fez.

The uniforms were ordered from the Schuylkill Arsenal and it took 5 months to fill the order. Colonel Garrard made frequent trips to Washington to personally supervise the design and production of the uniform.

A detailed study of extant uniforms
The extant 146th NYSV zouave uniforms differ in several areas to the Turcos uniforms, but the over all color scheme is the same; sky blue with yellow trim and a red sash.

On November 18, 1994, clothing historians Paul Smith, Joel Bohy and I examined and photographed the unidentified uniform of a 146th NYSV soldier on display at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor's Center. Below are the notes and photos taken on that day. All photos courtesy of Paul Smith (unless otherwise noted).

As typical with uniforms produced by the Schuylkill Arsenal, the 146th NYSV uniform is hand sewn throughout. The sky blue jacket and trowsers are made from twilled wool kersey commonly seen in standard Federal issue trowser and overcoats. All the braid and lace are wool as is the fez and tassel.

It is important to note that the shirt, vest, gaiters and brogans displayed on the mannequin in the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor's Center with this uniform are reproductions. There is no evidence that the 146th NYSV uniform was issued with a vest.

Fez #1 Gettysburg National Military Park Collection:
The signature head gear for the zouave is the fez. Unlike the turcos fez which had a blue tassel, the three extant 146th NYSV fezzes are all madder red with  a yellow wool tassel. The fez is a fine felt and has a yellow horizontal cotton bias tape hand sewn onto the brim with a running stitch.

Two of the three extant fezzes identified as belonging to the 146th NYSV all have the brims turned up. Because of camera angles and turbins, it is difficult to say how common this was, but it is known that different zouave units would each adapt a different style of fez wearing. This could have been the style chosen by the enlisted men of the 146th NYSV.  However, photographic evidence has only yielded one image of a 146th NYSV soldier with a turned up brim. The vast majority of the images do show them wearing a turban, but no extant 146th NYSV turban

Fez #2: Don Troiani Collection
This second fez is identified to Sergeant James P. Pitcher and has many of the same features as the first. The tassel has roped yarns and a macramé cap over the acorn. It is attached by two corded yarns. The brim is also turned up as in the first example and the yellow trim is cotton. Unlike the first example, the trim on this fez is applied by machine. 

Sgt. James P. Pitcher Fez Photo courtesy of Joel Bohy


The body of the jacket is cut similar to the Schuylkill Arsenal Zouave pattern seen in other jackets produced there like the 140th NY and 155th PA. The jacket has a 6 piece body and a 2 piece sleeve. There are two vents

The perimeter of the jacket is trimmed with 1/2" yellow worsted wool lace that is hand set 1/2" from the edge. The stitches are 6-7 stitches per inch.

There are two vents placed in center of the side panel of the jacket. The vents are 3 1/2" deep and 3 1/2" wide at the bottom.

On the edge of the jacket a 1/8" yellow wool cord has been hand applied. The cording is in a single strans except for at the vent where there are two double rows of cording spanning the space at the vent. The first set is 5/8" down from the peak of the event, the second set it 1/8" down from the first.


The jacket is lined with a brown/tan jean cloth. The facing pieces are raw edged and applied in the typical manner seen in mounted services jackets, veterans reserve corps jackets and other Schuylkill Arsenal zouave jackets. The facings are 2 3/4 wide in the front panels and 2" wide at the bottom of the jacket. The front facing is pieced at the curve near the bottom. There is no facing at the top of the vent.

There is one inside patch pocket made from cotton osnaburg that is 6" deep and is running stitched into the jacket lining. Three hooks and eyes close the jacket, while it is believed on the top hook and eye is original to the jacket, the other sets of hooks and eyes are spaced 4" between the 1st & 2nd, 5" between the 2nd & 3rd. Below the second hook and eye, there is a label which reads "Henry S. White, Walton, N.Y." it is believed that Henry S. White was not a veteran of the 146th NYSV, but a costumer who owned the jacket at one point and may have been responsible for the additional hooks and eyes.

The sleeve is ballooned and there is a slight easement in the sleeve cap. The cuff facing is 1" from the finished edge. It isn't raw edged as seen in Veterans Reserve Corps Jacket, but is turned up as in Mounted Services Jackets.

The cuff is trimmed in a chevron patter with 1/2" yellow worsted wool lace. The lace is 2" on the in and out seams and rises to 4 1/2". The sleeve lining is osnaburg and the center back seam is 1 1/4" from the top. The functional cuff has three cuff sized eagle buttons spaced at 1" from the bottom of the cuff and 1 1/2" between the second and 3 buttons.

The tombeaux is centered in the front panels of the jacket and unlike the Turcos uniform does not have the red false pockets. The lace used is yellow 3/8" worsted wool and like the rest of the trim on the jacket is applied by hand. The trefoil at the top of the tombeaux are 1" from knot, 1 5/8" wide.



The sash is made from a light weight, twilled, madder red wool Flannel. It is 10 feet long. When cut the sash is 25" wide, then folded in half and sewn with a 1/2" seam to form a 12" wide sash. There is  yellow worsted wool  ½" lace applied with a running stitch to the perimeter of the sash. The seam for the sash is under the lace.

Unlike traditional zouave pantaloons which have a low crotch and come to mid calf, the 146th NYSV were issued chasseur style trowsers.

Chasseur trowsers have many of the same features as pantaloons with a gathered cuff and pleated front, but the inseam and length are vastly different.

Another similar feature is the side seam pocket for example which is very similar to those found on extant zouave pantaloons. The pocket is made from a crudely woven cotton drilling with fine yarn and they are 10" deep. Unlike pocket bags found on most traditional trowsers which are set in the front panel of the trowser, the zouave pocket bag is centered on the side seam. The center facing is 4" x 8" and the front and rear facings are 1 3/8" x 8". The pocket is hand topstitched 1/4" from the perimeter of the pocket opening and have reinforcing stitches at the top and bottom. These trowsers are not trimmed with a corded knot as seen some zouave trowsers.

The watch pocket is 5/8" high and is hand topstitched along the top and sides as well as underneath the waistband seam. The pocket bag is the same material as the side seam pockets.

The waistband is wider than other zouave trowsers and is 2 5/8" in front and 3½" in rear. Rounded waistband is rounded in the rear above the vent. The waistband lining is cotton drill and is the same as the pockets.

There is one 1" buttonholes that are  5/8" from bottom of band and 3/8" from edge. The button is japanned tin. The paperbacked tin button above waist band button is non-functional and while it was intended to be buttoned to a vest, there are no known records of vest being issued to the unit.

The trowsers are baggy and are gathered into the waistband using pleats. There are 8 ¾" accordion pleats across the rear and 8 ¾" accordion pleat front. They are hand topstitched ¾" to 3/8" variable below the waistband and are hand topstitched ¼" above waistband

There is a pentagon shaped yoke in the rear of the trowsers and a bar tack reinforcing the bottom of the vent. There is a back belt used to adjust the fit of the trowsers above the hips it is  is 2 5/8" wide in the rear and tapers to 1 1/8" in the front, It is backed with blue polished cotton and is pieced. It is hand felled & topstitched ¼" from edge.

The fly is also lined with Blue polished fly lining like the back belts. The fly is topstitching 1¼" from edge on fly lining. There is a  row of topstitching on bottom of the fly. First row is 5/8" from bottom, second row is ¼" above that.

The trowsers do taper slightly and gather into a functional cuff which fastens with a button.

Overall the uniform is very well made and offers a fine example of the craftsmanship and skill level of the Schuylkill Arsenal.

In the future, other 146th NYSV identified uniforms will be examined. The notes and photos of those uniform items will be published on this page. If anyone has questions or comments about this uniform or primary source documentation about the 146th NYSV, I would appreciate you contacting me. tailor@cjdaley.com

I would like to thank Paul Smith, Joel Bohy, and Don Troiani for their help with this uniform study. Unless otherwise noted, all photos were taken by Paul Smith.

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