The Zouaves were the fighting men of one of the most interesting and finely tuned fighting units of the Civil War. Compared to any other unit in the war, regardless of the side, Yankee or Rebel, hands down, they were the best, perfection, in everything they did.
They took their styling from their North African counterparts. During the war the Union created 70 regiments while the south had roughly 25 regiments.
Marching, signaling, fighting, even dying, they did it the best. Their colorful uniforms and precisely done maneuvers made this unit the one to be gazed upon and admired. They participated in many battles including the battle of Bull Run and Second Bull Run.
During the battle of Second Bull Run the 5th New York suffered grievous casualties while defending their position. Out of the 525-man regiment 120 men were killed and 330 were wounded.
Since they were mere militia and not regular army soldiers they did not participate in every battle during the war but when they did they were very brave and did their duty to the fullest. The Confederate counterparts were smaller in number but they were just as brave.
They mostly patrolled and kept order in their home states throughout the war only fighting in full-scale battles when the enemy encroached into their territory. Regardless they did have the best looking uniforms if nothing else.