Days Gone By - stories from the past

Amazing [vintage film] of real Confederate vets giving the Rebel Yell in Washington D. C.

In every book I have read about the Civil War, the authors referred to the ‘Rebel Yell’ heard before battle and I have always wondered what it sounded like.

In this 1930’s clip from the Library of Congress, veterans of the Civil War  stepped up to the microphone and did their version of the Rebel Yell then a group Rebel Yell was done.



It was also done at a 1913 Gettysburg battle reunion by actual Civil War veterans

Veteran Interview

Below is an audio file of an interview with Thomas N. Alexander a civil war veteren, featuring a group yell and a single yell.  This was recorded by by the general manager of WBT radio at a Sons of Confederate Veterans meeting in 1935 when Alexander was 90 years old


Also a reneactment of the Rebel Yell as done by a company of men

I imagine that would be a haunting and foreboding sound coming out of the woods or on the battleground knowing you about to be attacked.

Ken Burns: The Civil War 25th Anniversary Edition – Restored for 2015 [Blu-ray] has been improved. It would make a great gift for someone who has an interest in the American Civil War.

The Making of Donald Trump by  Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, David Cay Johnston


Ken Burns: The Civil War 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray (Blu-ray)

Director: Ken Burns
Starring: Sam Waterson, Morgan Freeman, Garrison Keillor
Rating: NR (Not Rated)

List Price: $91.76
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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. There wasn’t one “Rebel Yell”. There were many, the sound of which depended on which region southern troops came from. At least some of these yells were based on local hunting calls. I’ve read contemporary (1860’s) descriptions of rebel yells ranging from “Yip! Yip! Yip!” to a “high pitched womanly scream”.

  2. I truly enjoyed this film about the Rebel Yell…I am so glad this was filmed while some actual soldiers could show us….I also enjoyed the gentlement who said he saw Abraham Lincoln shot. Thank you for this
    interesting progam.

  3. Enjoyed hearing the Rebel Yell. My g.grandfather was 95plus when he did the yell for me. He was in in the2nd FL Cav. and died at home at 97, in the FL panhandle. I believe it was derived from something called a ” Holler”; used to communicate at long distance on farms and woodlands. This, too, came to us from the slaves who brought it from Africa.
    Our version starts with 2 barks or yips; followed by the wail of the FL. panther.

  4. Hmm mm I heard that yell from soome old coon hunters I used to know I wonder where they may have gotten that

  5. They did it calling the dogs in

  6. Mr.Ellsworth I believe your right! I myself came from a long line of coon hunters and have heard the (Rebel Yell) calling the dogs many many times!

  7. […] Anyone who is interested in the ACW knows about the Rebel Yell. Well here is what it might have sounded like. I came across the link just now and found it very interesting. Have you ever wondered what the Rebel Yell sounded like? Here it is. – Alabama Pioneers […]

  8. That didn’t sound to much like Bo and Luke duke jumping a bridge in the General Lee did it ??

  9. Sounds like an animal being tortured.

  10. Stirs my heart. Where are those D… Yankees! 🙂

  11. Kim Kelsey show this to Levi and Lila

  12. Debra Glass gave me goosebumps and a huge smile.

  13. I suspect it is a copy of an indian war cry. So many indian battles in the south the older men might possibly have heard. Creepy for sure.

    1. Creepy but real. Tho it may be unpleasant for some, it must not be forgotten. Each war our country has fought has been unpleasant for some, fatal for some but freedom for U.SA.

  14. Well…as I understand it, the Scots had a battle cry that was similar (& probably Irish did too). Since there was a huge percentage of them in the south, it makes sense that it could have come from their culture.

  15. Every southern has it, just got to be mad, happy or scared enough to get it out!

  16. Paulette Israel Thelma Watkins

  17. My uncle could remember some of the CW vets from his younger days and said they always seemed to have these long, white beards stained with tobacco juice!

  18. Zachary Charles Grizzard congratulations on your Graduation!

  19. Gina Hedberg watch the interview in the link

  20. My grandfather used this same yell to call up the hogs from the swamps in southwest Georgia! Said he learned it from his grandfather through his father, a 4 year CSA Sargeant.

  21. I have always wondered if the rebel yell didn’t originate from the Scottish highlands since many of them after the loss at Culloden Field when Charles Stuart tried to reclaim the crown were banished to the”new world.” Many of them settled in the south.

  22. A professional folklorist might know whether ‘THE REBEL YELL’ may trace its origin to the legendary “cry of the banshee” (fairy-woman) in Irish mythology and folklore.

  23. actually, they said they didn’t remember the “exact” yell and this was the best they could do at that time …

  24. I had almost forgotten that historian David McCullough narrated The Civil War. I became a David McCullough fan a few years after the original was broadcast. Definitely one of America’s greatest writers of history.

    1. He is good, but has made errors, John Adams bio for example.

    2. Almost no historian fails to make errors especially when they try to be as detailed as McCullough.

  25. It is a great series. I really have learned so much. My great-granddaddy Stephen Mc Connell fought for the Confederacy. I have several artifacts and great stories.

  26. Tim J. Dearinger in case you haven’t seen this.

    1. Yes I have, and I love seeing the old guys whoop it up…doing “the yell”. And…pardon my saying, but I’m surprised it hasn’t been banned from FB given today’s climate.

  27. We watched the original years back and were immediately hooked. We are recording it and start watching the first show tonight. Can’t’s so good!

  28. So interesting. Love the videos.

  29. I think it was a hunting call used when hunters worked together to drive animals to a certain area.

  30. What wonderful HISTORY to have recorded!

  31. Brandon Prescott I thought you might like this!

    1. Yes this is awesome! Thanks buddy.

  32. An absolute treasure!!

  33. Today, someone would shoot these guys and set them on fire just to prove how bigoted and racist they are.

  34. Fantastic! These were some really tough guys. Wonder what they would think about these so called “leaders” we have today?

  35. Charlie Romeo American history right there.

  36. Like a turkey call or a native war cry. I wonder how it first caught on. Great share. Many thanks!

  37. Jason Cambron this is how you Yee Yee!!

  38. […] Amazing [vintage film] of real Confederate vets giving the Rebel Yell in Washington D. C. […]

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