The Civil War in Missouri

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The Artifact Gallery was made possible by a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee.

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George S. Mepham in His Zouave Uniform

Oil on canvas, 1860
MHM Collections

During the war, some Union and Confederate regiments modeled themselves after French Zouaves, troops known for precision drilling and their colorful, unusual uniforms. This play military uniform was probably inspired by the Zouave craze popularized in the United States by Elmer Ellsworth, an Illinois militiaman, before the war started. The National Guards, a St. Louis militia company, appeared in Zouave uniforms at their annual encampment in July 1860. The next month Ellsworth and his famous Zouave Cadets visited St. Louis as one of the stops on their popular 20-city, six-week tour of the country.