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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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	  At Riker s Island.
[newspaper clipping continued: first column]
prominent one.  It is now and will be henceforth
as much a part of American as of French warfare
 we have nationalized it.  Not all the experience
of the Crimean and the recent war between France
and Austria, could conquer England s inveterate
conservatism in this respect.  None of her  regu-
lars  have, as yet, adopted Zouave tactics.
  Riker s Island, as most New Yorkers know, is a
sufficiently pleasant and spacious piece of private
property situate up the East river, on this side of
Flushing, and commanding a view, over the waters
of the Sound, of Fort Schuyler.  No better spot
could have been selected for the rather arduous
task of drilling upwards of 770 men, comprising 
as it does the advantages fo healthy and agreeable
location, vicinity to the commissariat conveniences
of the city, and comparative isolation from its
many temptations.
  During this summer weather few scenes could
present a brighter or more picturesque aspect than
Colonel Hawkins s camp.  We will attempt to de-
scribe it in detail.
  Pitched on the higher portion of the island, it
consists of two rows of unpainted pine barracks,
perhaps five hundred feet long, with an avenue of
about eighty feet between them the building on
either hand exhibiting a plain fa ade of windows
and doors, in the proportion of five of the former to
one of the latter.  Of course these barracks are
divided into different compartments.  On the right
the quartermaster s, that of the adjutant and staff
and the officers of the line, the mess-hall, the
guard-house, the wash-room, that occupied by the
quarters of the ten different companies forming the
regiment, ranging from A to K; each being pro-
vided with berths which accommodate two sleepers.
An isolated wooden marquee at the near end, de-
voted to Colonel Hawkins and the field officers, and
the sutler s and commissariat s premises, in the
rear of the barracks, complete the arrangements.
  Suppose half a dozen stacks of long, bright bar-
relled United States muskets The  White Bess
of the Army,  as Mr. William Russell has charac-
terized them arranged pyramidically in a new and
ingenious manner, named after Colonel Ellsworth, 
ornamenting this avenue, three or four bright,
beautiful American flags visible the largest sur-
mounting the Colonel s marquee sentinels posted
about the camp, and in every quarter of the island,
and last of all nearly eight hundred young fellows
populating it, and you have the component features
of the scene.
  Their uniform is picturesque and peculiar, con-
sisting of a short jacket of dark bue cloth, braided

[newspaper clipping: second column]
with red, loose military trowsers and close-fitting
vest of similar material, a blue silk scarf girt about
the waist, and a French military cap, fez, or Have-
lock, the last of which they will wear exclusively
when on active service.  Invariably young men,
(with the exception of the Colonel we should not
suppose one of them to be over thirty years old,)
their physique is eminently satisfactory, indicating
in no ordinary degree hardihood, intelligence and
good humor.  During the three weeks in which
they have been encamped their daily routine has
been as follows:
  At sunrise the drums beat reveille, when the sen-
tinels leave off challenging and the officers and men
rise and form in front of their quarters for roll-call,
after which the men put their rooms in order, the
whole under the direction of the First Sergeants.
The same rule is observed at the guard-house, by
the guard and prisoners, should there be any.
  At 5 A. M. the morning drill begins, lasting for
two hours, all of the commissioned and non-com-
missioned officers and privates being present, un-
less detailed for special duty or absent by permis-
sion.  At 7 breakfast-call sounds, when the com-
panies form in front of their quarters and march to
their meal under the direction of the Second Ser-
geants.  At 8 guard mount.  At 8   surgeon-call,
when the First Sergeants conduct the sick to the
hospital.  At 11 the orderly-call summons the ad-
jutant and officer of the day to report at headquar-
ters and receive instructions.  All general details,
as guard, police, &c., are made at this hour and the
countersign furnished.
  At twelve the men dine; after, another drill or
an hour and a half s duration.  The regimental
line being then formed for instruction, the retreat
beats off at sun-down, when each of the captains
inspects his company under arms and fully equip-
ped.  At 6 P. M. supper.  At nine tattoo and roll-
call, without arms, when official instructions for
the night are fiven.  At half-past nine lights must
be extinguished throughout the camp, except where
specially allowed, and no soldier be out of quarters
without permission of the field officer in command.
  Such is a Zouave s day in Captain Hawkins s
camp.  He has, however, leisure for recreation
principally between the house of retreat and tattoo,
which he ordinarily employs in manly sports and
gymnastic exercises, varied by occasional digging
for clams and the perpetration of extensive
 bakes  of those populr crustacae, sometimes in-
viting his commanding officer to share the banquet,
for the sincerest good feeling exists throughout the
entire corps.  Despite the rigid drill, involving
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Sixteen: page two hundred and thirteen
Description:Describes a visit to Colonel Hawkins's Zouaves in an article for ''The Evening Post.''
Subject:Clothing and dress; Ellsworth, E.E.; Civil War; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Hawkins, Colonel; Military; New York Infantry Regiment, 9th
Coverage (City/State):[New York, New York]
Scan Date:2010-06-08


Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Sixteen
Description:Includes Gunn's descriptions of the scene in New York at the commencement of the Civil War, boarding house living, visits to the Edwards family, Mort Thomson's engagement to Fanny Fern's daughter Grace Eldredge, Frank Cahill's return to New York from London, Frank Bellew's dissatisfaction with living in England, Thomas Nast's engagement to Sally Edwards, the scene in New York during the departure of the 7th New York Regiment for Washington, attending the wedding of Olive Waite and Hamilton Bragg, a visit with Frank Cahill to the camp of the 1st Regiment of New York Volunteers and the 2nd Regiment of New York State Militia on Staten Island, the death of Charles Welden, and his reporting work.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Bohemians; Civil War; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Marriage; Military; Publishers and publishing; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2010 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.