Alonzo Ameli (1839 – 1912) was among the hundreds of youthful volunteers who gathered in Manhattan in May 1861 to form the 5th New York Infantry Regiment under the command of Colonel Abram Duryea (also spelled Duryée). Adapting a uniform inspired by the French Army in North Africa that included baggy red trousers, the regiment was more popularly known as “Duryea’s Zouaves” or the “Red Devils.” General George B. McClellan called them “the best disciplined and soldierly regiment in the Army.” The bravery of the 5th New York was noted at the battles of Gaines’ Mill, Second Bull Run (Second Manassas), and Fredericksburg. Unlike the more than 200 of his regimental comrades who died in combat, Alonzo Ameli survived the cataclysm of the Civil War and spent his remaining years in the sedate occupation of a government clerk in Brooklyn, New York.
- "Like the sun to the solar system"September 18, 1861Alonzo Ameli (1838–1912) to brother Peter Ameli, September 18, 1861. Alonzo Ameli Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (038.00.00)