Ep. 31 Remembering the 5th New York Infantry Regiment: “Duryee’s Zouaves”

The 5th New York Infantry Regiment “Zouaves” were drawn, dressed, and drilled for success in the American Civil War. A volunteer company that drew as many college graduates and businessmen as it did dock and factory workers, it was destined to briefly show its greatness… and then disappear. On this Memorial Day, I tell their story to honor their service and ultimate sacrifice.

Zouave: Originally a distinctive kind of French colonial soldier deployed to foreign locations such
as northern Africa. Zouave units were known for their unique uniforms, excellent esprit de corps, and elite drill/training.

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For Further Awesome Reading…

The Civil War: A Narrative by Shelby Foote

Purists/academics will kill me for this, but if you want a captivating narrative of the Civil War military campaign history, told like a compelling story and extensively well-researched, Shelby Foote’s three volume series is a joy to read and captures the human drama in all its triumph and tragedy on the battlefield. There are tons of caveats: It has a great bibliography, but no footnotes. Foote was a novelist and not a professional academic historian. Foote covers events from an almost purely military perspective, from the point of view of the people caught up in them. Don’t expect much prelude about the causes of the war or any kind of “zoomed out” view of the conflict in its wider social, economic, or political context, with the exception of the two Commanders in Chief: Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James McPherson

This is the definitive one-volume history of the war and the Oxford History of the United States published volume on the subject. It covers everything that led up to the conflict, as well as its wider context. It won the Pulitzer Prize in its content area back when that meant more than it does now. Need I say more?

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