J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Rebel Yell (No, Not Billy Idol)

Ever wonder what the Rebel yell sounded like? I’ve been asked that question on numerous occasions – at book signings, reenactments, and living history demonstrations – and I think it probably sounded like an immense pack of coyotes. The Rebel yell has been described as a haunting, exhilarated screech, somewhere between a high-pitched yelp and a shrill holler, like an Indian war cry but with more passion.

Confederate soldiers described the yell as a release of pent up anxiety with a dash of devilishness. It was also a way for them to express their hatred, and understandably so, since their homes were being invaded, stolen, and burned down by advancing Union armies.

After the Civil War ended, veterans gathered at various reunions. The Confederate vets entertained spectators and fellow Union ex-soldiers by bursting forth, once again, with the Rebel yell. Fortunately, someone had the hindsight to record them before all of the dear souls passed away. Check out the following link to hear it for yourself:

What Did the Rebel Yell Sound Like? Video | Smithsonian Magazine*

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