Tag Archives: Rebel Yell

The Real Rebel Yell

Screen shot 2014-03-24 at 9.43.49 AMThe other day I posted videos capturing the recreation of and the story behind the recreation of the infamous Rebel yell. I think that all in all this was a laudable effort to resuscitate a war cry that had long ago faded into history. Several people on the usual social media suspects commented their approval. But at least one person seemed incensed by this recreation. This individual suggested that it is quite impossible to recreate the yell out of the context of actual war. In many ways I must agree – the gentlemen reenacting the yell during a modern-day bayonet charge are out for a good time. No one is shooting at them, no one is dying. Fair enough. But I think that the reenactors provided a close approximation. Another reader pointed me to a film clip of actual Confederate veterans (now quite elderly) yelling their hearts out.  Take note that the authentic yells are eerily similar to the modern day version. Of course, no one is shooting at the veterans either – these old timers seem to be having a fine time entertaining their audience. What do you think?

 


With compliments,
Keith

PS – I think it’s funny when people put clips up on Youtube and call them “rare.” Umm….it’s on Youtube. How rare can it be?

The Rebel Yell Revisited

Screen shot 2014-03-22 at 9.48.27 AMFor decades, we thought we knew what the Rebel yell sounded like. We figured it was somewhere between a blood-curdling scream and an extended YEEEEEEEEEHHHHHAAAAAAAA in The Dukes of Hazzard fashion.

But reports from Union soldiers who heard it in battle don’t exactly match up to the popular understanding of the infamous war cry. Federal soldier Ambrose Bierce said of the yell…”It was the ugliest sound that any mortal ever heard — even a mortal exhausted and unnerved by two days of hard fighting, without sleep, without rest, without food and without hope.” And a New York Times war correspondent remarked “..the Southern soldiers cannot cheer, and what passes muster for that jubilant sound is a shrill ringing scream with a touch of the Indian war-whoop in it.” Shelby Foote – who seems to be the master of all things Civil War, stated in Ken Burns’s The Civil War, that is was most likely some sort of “a foxhunt yip mixed up with sort of a banshee squall.”

Has the sound been lost to history? Well, thanks to the Museum of the Confederacy, maybe not. Have a quick look at these two short videos and see how the MOC pieced together what sounds haunting and just plain scary – just like the Union soldiers described.

The yips, barks and yelps generated in the studio as Waite Rawls, president of the MOC describe and the yell reproduced by Henry Kidd and the other Confederate reenactors may very well be the closest thing we have to the real deal. Sometimes I imagine myself hearing this from a thousand or more voices. Yes – I am a dork.

With compliments,
Keith

Rebel Yell Bourbon. Discuss.

Screen shot 2014-01-29 at 10.16.01 AMI’ve been know to enjoy a bourbon from time to time. I was recently admiring labels and this one in particular struck me as odd. There are several things going on here that I found somewhat incongruous. The Confederate cavalryman I get. But “Rebel” Yell established in 1849? And the “deep south” of Old Kentucky? Hmmmmmmmm…. maybe they are just trying to cover all their bases. What are your thoughts? Not for nothing…this stuff is pretty good for a less expensive bourbon.

With compliments,

Keith