Zouaves were originally a French military unit comprised of North African natives and French officers organized in Algiers in 1830. They quickly established themselves as an elite unit. Zouave dress and drill was popularized in the United States by the soon to be martyred Elmer Ellsworth who took his Chicago company on a national tour. The 55th N.Y. militia was a unit formed from French immigrants living in New York City and included Zouaves uniformed as above. With the outbreak of hostilities many other Zouave regiments were formed. They tended to have distinct dress but often proved unable to consistently provide new uniform issues to their men. Many Zouave units were forced to adopt regulation dress. Knowing the mentality of the typical quartermaster it is surprising that the department did make an honest effort to supply nonregulation Zouave dress. For more information about Civil War Zouaves acquire Michael McAfee's book.