Rare Footage of Civil War Veterans Doing the Rebel Yell

(crowd doing rebel yell) It’s really a great pleasure introducing our esteemed superintendent to this audience who will lead the rebel yell I’ll yell myself, presently (laughter) We’re all waiting to hear it Honey go ahead you show ’em (clears throat) Ladies and Gentlemen I feel high honored at the introduction of our (unintelligible) friend and, um, Conrad captain, uh, Doculerious and, uhh, I will do the best I know how to get that air out for ya a few of us old Confeds will do what we can We can’t give you much but we’ll give you what we got left (laughter) (clapping) Ladies and Gentlemen I have the pleasure of announcing to you that we are going to make an effort to repeat the old Rebel Yell One Two Three (Rebel Yell) (Rebel Yell) (Rebel Yell) Charge ’em boys, Charge ’em (laughter) (Laughter)(Chatter) (Chatter) We’ll now get it individually our Captain James Dinkens (Rebel Yell) (Rebel Yell) (Rebel Yell) (Applause) General Stevens (Rebel Yell) (Rebel Yell) (Rebel Yell) (Applause) (Cheers) Harold Pierce Harold Jones Harold Jones, I beg your pardon Okay Alright (Rebel Yell) (Rebel Yell) (Rebel Yell) (Unintelligble) boys (Laughter) (Applause) (Cheers) Paul (Unintelligible) Yes sir Alright, yell yell Huh? Go on, yell (Rebel Yell) (Rebel Yell) (Rebel Yell) (Rebel Yell) (Laughter) (Applause) (Cheers) Silas LaGrage (Rebel Yell) All aloud (Rebel Yell) (Rebel Yell) (Rebel Yell) (Laughter) (Cheers) (Applause) Alright (Laughter) (Cheers) (Applause) J. W. Mannen (Rebel Yell) (Rebel Yell) No more (Laughter) (Cheers) (Applause) James Blunt (Rebel Yell) (Rebel Yell) (Rebel Yell) (Unintelligible) (Laughter) (Cheers) (Applause) Mr. Powell Alright, go ahead (muttering) (Rebel Yell) (Rebel Yell) One more, one more (Rebel Yell) (Laughter) (Cheers) (Applause) General Perry Go for ’em boys (Rebel Yell) (Rebel Yell) Give ’em hell boys, give ’em hell (Laughter) Go on boys (Cheers) Give ’em hell boys Ha-ha (Laughter) (Cheers) (Applause)

55 Replies to “Rare Footage of Civil War Veterans Doing the Rebel Yell”

  1. Thank you Smithsonian for uploading this! Most thought the rebel yell was lost to a memory. The sound still gives this northern born boy a chill up his spine. Happy Veterans Day!

  2. "We can't give you much but we'll give you what we got left." That gentleman, and his comrades, gave so much on the field of battle.

  3. Thats why they lost,if you sceam like that you are an easy target,not a black guy in that celebration,its that good or bad?

  4. Even emanating from these poor old codgers, some of whom were hurting themselves in the attempt, it sounds scary. I'd always read that nobody knows what the Rebel Yell sounded like but now we do, or at least can easily imagine it after seeing this. Speaking as a Virginian, this is a rare treat and the solution to a lifelong mystery.

  5. I can't thank you enough SmithsonianMagazine for finding this and uploading it. It's become the best way for me to learn how I should do my own Rebel Yell for my Civil War reenactments.

  6. This is fantastic! I have many relatives who fought for the Confederacy and I had always wondered what the sound of that famous, fearsome rebel yell would be like. Now we know and that is fantastic! What a great and brave bunch of men…"we don't have much to give, but we'll give you what we got!" What a powerful statement! Back when men were men and the women were glad of it! "Give em hell boys, give em hell!". Gotta love em! God bless them.

  7. In all the books I've read, the Rebel Yell was always described as being "sang by a chorus of Indians"! I've always assumed that it was a single, perhaps prolonged, scream. But these vets show us that it is a series of three yells…very interesting. I can see why it has been described in the manner written. It would be absolutely chilling coming from young strong throats.

  8. Imagine the fear of them yankees as they mowed them all down and suppressed them – – all while burning cities to the ground all the way to Atlanta. Yea, I bet they were terrified.

  9. no fear.we used minnie ball bullets,not bayonets..imagine the fear of say,settlers as screaming apache's or sioux as they converged upon their wagons

  10. Higher pitched than i thought it would be. Shelby Foote wrote that they brought a confederate in to record his rebel yell and he stated in short, "you cant. It is something that happens when men have been living on parched corn, apples being tired and thirsty".The exact quote evades me .Thank you for the upload and thank you smithsonian.

  11. Looks like WAaaHOOo WHO EEEEEEeeeeee is it and the higher the better. It's a good thing to learn. Reenactors take heed.

  12. And the end of the Ken Burns series, they had a clip of 1930's archival footage (70th anniversary of Gettysburg) of Confederate soldiers shaking hands with Union soldiers at a wooden fence (ending area of Picket's Charge?). Some of the rebel soldiers gave a short "rebel yell" (shouts and "whoop-whoop-whoop" sounds). One of the rebel soldiers said "That's the rebel yell".

  13. No one has any right to disrespect the men in this clip. Their views may have been flawed by your own point of view, but by theirs it was right. A soldier is a soldier and deserves the respect of the people of the land. You may disagree for the reasons of a war or the need for soldiers, but in America it is the soldier who allows you to picket and say war is wrong. I was born a Yankee and raised a Peach. I love the South's history.

  14. I disrespect those men, I think they're despicable. You don't deserve respect from people just because you're a soldier. The nazis were soldiers, but I don't respect any of them.

  15. I respect, honor and admire these men who fought the Yankees (The United States Government) when they came down and trampled on Southern rights. They did not stand back and let the US government get away with that. Unlike today that our US Government violate our civil liberties in defense of big corporations. Hence the Patriot Act was passed and police are more aggressive towards common people. The south should rise again!

  16. Imagine that sound coming from the throats of a thousand young men. At a time when their lungs were strong and clear, when their voices could hit higher notes. It probably sounded like a screech from the depths of Hell.
    I love those men regardless of which side they were on. They were all BRAVE beyond all reason. God rest them, and grant them eternal PEACE.

  17. The war was not fought over slavery. It was fought over unlawful taxation of Southern cotton. The first thing the Confederate Congress did was free the slaves in 1861. The US freed them in 1863. If it was fought over slavery, what were the 1st 2 years fought over?

  18. The Rebel yell is nothing more than what most of these folks used to communicate in their small towns across swamps and bayous. Jerry Clower the Comedian is basically doing Rebel yells when he talks about communicating with his friend on Racoon hunts.

  19. I don't know…. if this was shot in the 30's, that would make it at least 65 years after the ending of the Civil War…. that would make all those guys at least 80 years old, if they were 15, in 1865…. I don't think I buy it.

  20. Give it a rest.The civil war is over and only ghosts remain.Slavery was abolished, no matter what catalyst ended it..Be thankful.Live for today.

  21. The average age of a soldier in the Civil War was 25, but there were an estimated 100,000 or so under the age of 15. Recruitment was typically limited to those at least age 18, but children as young as 8 served. They weren't always official enlisters, though a few were at age 12. Those younger typically lied on their army applications.

  22. Good for you. You are right. I am a Northerner but lived a bit in the south. The winners wrote the history books. Did you know that the war of 1812 was fought because we invaded Canada? Most think it was because of British Shanghaiing. The fight is ever between urban people and rural people. It still is today. Our country is disintegrating due to this, to this very day. It will cause our next civil war. Unless a yankee lives in the south, he will never understand this, IMAO.

  23. I would say that these men in the video all appear approx 80-85 years old. This film clip belongs to the Smithsonian. They document sources very carefully. Buy it.

  24. I'm a battered black hat of the union Iron Brigade, we have the hats but damn I wish we had a yell even close to this one!

  25. I imagine when they were younger, it had more fluctuations, but when they got older, they couldn't do it, like how an old singer cant hit the high notes anymore

  26. There is another recording –it seems legit. Plus, it's been looped and variated in a seperate example, into a company-sized unit.

    search [ good old rebel yell recording ]

    (i can't seem to post the URL)

    I've read that regiments had their own variations, and would compete with nearby units to raise the best ruckus. The effect on a long battle line would be a rolling yell up and down the line. Mercy! No wonder so much interest persisted long after the war!

  27. These were a heartier people. It would have been great to have shaken their hands. They were roughly the same age at that time as our WWII vets are now.

  28. he was a proud soldier in the german army not a nazi as most people believe ,he did his duty with courage whether he was on the winning side or not, be proud of him.

  29. Being from the south and having family who fought for the Confederate Staes. Hearing this gives me a chill.

  30. Living for today is a life of slavery in itself. Remembering the past and the attempt of freedom shouldn't be forgotten. The civil war turned all man into slaves.

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