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Rebel Yell

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  • Rebel Yell

    Do we really know how the rebel yell sounded? If so, how?
    Was it passed down as an oral tradition in families or communities?
    Many Confederate soldiers survived into the era of audio recording & phonographs... was it recorded at some point? If yes, got a link???

    Also, was the yell more or less uniform throughout the Confederacy? or
    Were there regional or corps differences in the yell? or
    Was it a individual kind of thing?
    My guess is that it was individualized, maybe with certain riffs that caught on the way fads tend to come & go.
    Last edited by aimzzz; 17 Jul 07, 07:34.
    avatar: Sarah Emma Edmonds disguised as Franklin Thompson. During the Civil War, she served as Thompson for 2 years in the Second Michigan Infantry. A number of women were able to enlist on both sides, as physicals tended to focus on the teeth...

  • #2
    Check out this thread:
    The muffled drums sad roll has beat the soldier's last tatoo. No more on life's parade shall meet that brave and fallen few.


    • #3
      Wow! You answered while I was still editing-- making a quick question long...
      Great link--I thought it would be one long yell instead of a series of short whoops-- makes sense though since they would be trying to run & breathe at the same time. I wouldn't find it very relaxing if I was just settling down with my morning coffee... especially if accompanied with a little shell & musketry.

      Now to read the rest of the thread...
      avatar: Sarah Emma Edmonds disguised as Franklin Thompson. During the Civil War, she served as Thompson for 2 years in the Second Michigan Infantry. A number of women were able to enlist on both sides, as physicals tended to focus on the teeth...


      • #4
        One aged veteran, speaking in the late 1800's, told his audience that he could not replicate the Rebel Yell, as you can't really do it with a full stomach, comfortable rest, and no sense of danger. I'll see if I can find the exact quote - it's a poignant comment about the volatile blend of confidence, desperation, pride, poverty, hunger and indignation that animated the fighting spirit of those long lines.
        "There are only two professions in the world in which the amateur excels the professional. One, military strategy, and, two, prostitution."
        -- Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

        (Avatar: Commodore Edwin Ward Moore, Republic of Texas Navy)


        • #5
          The Rebel Yell!!!

          Although I can't imagine what the famous and feared Rebel Yell sounded like I do know that its genesis lay back in Lower Scotland during the late Middle Ages (mid 1200's till the early 1500's!), when the very character and fiber of the typical "Scots-Irish" Southerner was being formed and shaped.

          For the genetical ancestry of most of the Confederate soldiers could be traced right back to the Scottish Lowlands (especially the wild Southwest, where much of their ancestry could be traced!) and the Border areas of Northern England and Scotland. So therefore it makes sense that such a ferocious and visceral battle scream would be passed down and learned from one generation till another, even till the point that it was being transported across the vast Atlantic from Ulster---(where thousands upon thousands of Scottish Lowlanders settled all throughout the 17th century, establishing their own thoroughly fortified Scottish settlements in the process of defending and preserving many of their traditions, customs and military traits such as the "Rebel Yell!")---all the way to the untamed and rugged American frontier between 1717 the American Revolution.

          So it should be safe to say that the famous Confederate Rebel Yell was this visceral and cherished by-product of 600 and more years of ingrained and learned tradition (through the process of osmosis and oral re-tellings!) being passed down from father to son and so on, beginning up in the Celtic parts of Scotland way back in the days of MacBeth and surviving intact through this endless succession of warrior clans and fierce tribes that knew the value of sending this fearsome chill down the spine of anyone that dared to invade their turf or steal their cattle.

          So therefore it became preserved through the many generations that continuously practiced that spectacular, deeply emotional, unearthly and viscerally-inspired battle cry that pretty much began with the defiant, painted, impossible to subdue Picts of the Roman Era (hence the erection of Hadrian's Wall!), as it was carried down through the ages all the way till it was once again unleashed by Wallace's vigorous rag-tag Army on the rocky heights above Stirling Bridge in 1297.

          Then that famous Celtic yell continued on through the hard-fought engagements at Bannockburn, Otterburn, along the Scottish/English borders of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, over in Germany during the 30 years war (where many Scots served as these tough to beat mercenaries and as ferocious shock troops, gaining much fame and renown in the process of becoming the most feared and formidable element on the battlefield during that conflict!), then back up in Scotland during the British Civil Wars, over in Ulster after the many migrations from Scotland during the 17th century, along the American frontier throughout the 18th century(for that was where most of the Ulster Scots had settled), and, for the most part, ending with the last of the Confederate Civil War bayonet/cavalry charges back in the mid 1860's in what became renowned and dreaded by the Yankees as the ferocious Rebel Yell!!! So the Rebels had their long-winded Scottish ancestors to thank for giving them something worthwhile to scream about!
          Last edited by Taylor Ahern; 07 Aug 07, 19:08.


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