In researching a manuscript I am now completing, I found several descriptions of the Louisiana Tigers at Gettysburg. Those readers who are familiar with my wargaming book, Enduring Valor: Gettysburg in Miniature, know that in playtesting and photographing my scenario for the fight near Kuhn’s Brickyard (the Coster’s Last Stand scenario), I depicted Harry Hays’ boys as wearing the zouave uniforms that Wheat’s Tigers had worn early in the war.
Of course, few (if any) of Hays’ 1,200 men were so colorfully garbed. They were arrayed at Gettysburg in a dizzying array of civilian clothing, as most men had exchanged their worn out gray and butternut uniforms for clothing appropriated in such Pennsylvania stopovers as Waynesboro, Gettysburg, York, and East Berlin. A number of men sported unusual hats, usually swapped with unwilling citizens or purchased with worthless CSA scrip from some hesitant storekeeper.
One of the first Tigers wounded at Gettysburg was L. B. Bernard of Company A of the 9th Louisiana. He tumbled to the ground early in the skirmishing with the 17th Connecticut. Bernard was wearing a “three-story white silk hat” at the time he was shot. Other men sported stovepipe hats, old-fashioned even higher hats, farmer’s straw hats, caps, and other civilian headgear. A handful of men had stolen bonnets to parade around in as a joke, but there is no record any Louisianans went into battle wearing women’s hats.
So, I have replaced my previous brigade of Tigers that wore the zouave costume with stands of figures wearing civilian gear. I have depicted them with only a few vestiges of military garb – an occasional kepi or slouch hat, some men wearing sky blue Union pants seized at Winchester along with black Federal knapsacks, and a few men with oddball hats. It’s too late to reshoot the scenario book, but you might want to create a similar set of miniature Tigers.