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Thursday, January 2, 2014

11th New York Infantry. The Fire Zouaves

Hi Guys
Continuing on with my ACW units in 28mm for 'LONGSTREET' I thought I'd share some photos on another unit that was baptised with fire at 1st Bull Run.
The 11th New York Infantry Regiment is another very colourful Regiment and like many of the early war Regiments looks and sounds more like a Social Club rather than a Infantry Regiment. Drawn from the ranks of the city's many volunteer fire companies, the unit was known alternately as the Ellsworth Zouaves, First Fire Zouaves, First Regiment New York Zouaves, and U.S. National Guards!
I used the very tasty PERRY MINIATURES codes ACW57 and 58. Flags are from FLAGS OF WAR
I purchased enough to make a six based unit. I'm kicking myself, as with gust 12 more miniature (2 packs) I could have created a big 10 base unit. Oh well, you live and learn and I've come up with a bit of a solution if I do need the extra four bases.
 As usual I've obtained some unit details / historical notes via Wikipedia. Not the best of accurate source I know, but I've check the facts against my own readings and they match up. Getting the details from Wiki just saves me a lot of time and hassle typing:

The 11th New York Infantry Regiment (Fire Zouaves).

The Zouaves' first major combat experience occurred during the First Battle of Bull Run. On the morning of July 21, Farnham's men were awoken at 2:00 a.m. to begin their march to intercept the Confederate army. McDowell's plan for the day was for divisions under Colonel Daniel Tyler and Brig. Gen. Heintzelman to cross Bull Run at Sudley Ford, expected to be only several miles north of their camp. Poor scouting by Union chief engineer John G. Barnard resulted in a 14-mile (23 km) march for men entering battle that morning. During the march, lead units engaged skirmishers east of Sudley's Ford with artillery in the early dawn. McDowell had divided his three divisions, sending Heintzelman to the north, sweeping down to cover the Union right, and thus his was the last division to engage. The other two divisions, under Tyler and David Hunter, engaged first on the Union left and center, at Matthews Hill. With those divisions facing heavy resistance, Heintzelman's division with the 11th New York was called forward at the double-quick. One observer commented that the 11th New York looked more like firemen randomly running to a fire than soldiers marching towards the front.

 BELOW: I could have added some static grass to the bases, but decided that a few tuffs were sufficient

 ABOVE: The unit as seen from behind. I used the 'tag' from the flags I obtained from FLAGS OF WAR to place a nifty little name tag on the command base.

As the fight moved from Matthews Hill to Henry House Hill, the 11th New York fought beside the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment and a battalion of US Marines. These units were ordered to support two batteries of cannon on the Federal right flank led by Captains Charles Griffin and James B. Ricketts. The 11th New York and 1st Minnesota were directed into position at the top of Henry House Hill by Major William Farquhar Barry, McDowell's chief of artillery, and ordered to assault the Confederate line.[42] On the initial confrontation with the 33rd Virginia Infantry on the left of Confederate General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's line, both the Union and Confederate forces were initially confused because the some of 11th New York were wearing several colors of shirts and the Virginians were clad in dark blue frock coats and dark blue trousers. The Virginians fired a volley that took down several men and the Zouaves and Marines broke and ran, but a few of the men remained.


As the 11th New York and 1st Minnesota were regrouping along the Manassas-Sudley Road, they were encountered by Confederate Colonel J. E. B. Stuart and his 150 cavalrymen. Stuart mistook the New Yorkers for retreating Confederates in the smoke and quickly rode forward, shouting, “Don’t run, boys; we are here.” But after seeing a color bearer passing with the United States flag, he realized his mistake.
BELOW: Stuart's Cavalry encounters the Fire Zouaves! Painting by Don Troiani

Stuart ordered a small band of "Black Horse" cavalry, led by R. Welby Carter and the men of his Loudoun Company, to charge from the right and strike the 11th's rear guard. The 11th New York saw them coming and shifted formations to meet Carter's men. The 11th's volleys quickly killed eight of the riders and wounded nine with the rest escaping back into the woods; the charge had little effect on the organization of Fire Zouaves. While repulsing the cavalry charge, Colonel Farnham was wounded, but remained on the field aided by Lt. Colonel John Cregier and Major Loeser".

By 2:00 p.m., the 11th New York and 1st Minnesota were joined by the 14th Brooklyn Regiment and again took their place behind the Union guns. However, soon confusion again erupted on the battlefield in front of them. As the gunners confronted the blue-clad 33rd Virginia, Major Barry ordered Ricketts to hold his fire, allowing the Virginians to charge the batteries and capture the guns. While the 14th Brooklyn was able to quickly retake the guns, the Union regiments supporting the cannon were unable to withstand the near constant barrage from Confederate artillery and infantry and fell back again to the Manassas-Sudley Road. The 11th New York, the Irish 69th New York Militia and 14th Brooklyn would charge Henry Hill four times, first in an effort to retake Ricketts' and Griffin's cannon, but each attempt failed. In the wild melee, the 69th's color bearers were killed and its colors lost, but an officer of the 11th, Captain John Wildey, was able to recapture the Irish color, and then handed it back to the grateful Irishmen, as depicted in the painting by Don Troiani below
 Painting by Don Troiani
When the order to withdraw from the field came later that evening from General McDowell, the 11th New York served as a rearguard. It was during this retreat that the regiment saw its heaviest casualties. Although accounts of the battle differ, most sources list 177 men lost at Bull Run, with 35 men killed, 74 wounded, and another 68 missing and presumed captured. Those that were taken prisoner were initially confined in Richmond. In September, they were transferred to Castle Pinckney, South Carolina, where they remained until they were paroled the following May".

Now as I mentioned earlier I'm short by 4 bases to create a LARGE 10 based unit. Fortunately I had a couple of PERRY MINIATURES code ACW 59 and 60 that could easily pass as early war troops of either side. Consequently I've painted so they can pass as extra bases for either Union or Confederates. I even placed halberds in the command figures hands rather than flags so the can pass as 'Firemen'.
 They can be used as either a small 4 base unit or added to my 11th NYFZ or even my Confederate 'Tiger Zouaves'.

  I'll try and add a post focusing on a Confederate Regiment next time.
Comments are always welcomed.


Vinnie said...

Great work on the Fire Zouaves very nice indeed

Black Powder said...

Great looking unit. Love that pic where JEB breaks into the inf line with an old style gallant cavalry charge.
Is there any chance you'll post pictures of your complete ACW collection?