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Captured Confederates at Gettysburg

Captured Confederates at Gettysburg
Confederates captured at Gettysburg. Some believe that these were three Louisiana "Tigers."

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Rebel Yell

Seems the Rebel Yell has sparked some interest:
  • Props to Dr. Johansson for posting a link to the Museum of the Confederacy's project on rebuilding the Rebel Yell. I had read about this sometime ago and forgot about it. Click on this link and it will bring you to two videos about the project. If you watch the on the right you can hear a 400 man regiment at Cedar Creek in October 2009 give the yell.
  • William Howard Russel, possibly THE first real war correspondent in history, of the London Times, said this in June of 1861:
    "...the whooping and screeching sounds that pass muster in this part of
    the world for cheers."

  • One of the most popular quotes, that Dr. Terry L. Jones pointed out to me, was made by Jubal Early: "Damn it," Early barked, "holler them across." Terryl D. Elliott wrote about this particular incident in his book (appropriately titled for this post) Damnit, Holler'em Across! - The History of the Rebel Yell. Here is how Elliott described it in an interview:
“Mythology says that when the Rebels charged and let out that Rebel Yell, it
scared the Yankees so bad that they turned around and ran,” Terryl says, adding
there are many documented instances of frightened Union forces running from
shrieking Rebels.

One such documented instance occurred in May 1864
during a battle near Richmond, Va., when the Confederate commander, Lt. Gen.
Jubal “Old Jube” Early ordered his regiment to make another attack to drive
Union troops off the battlefield.

“At that point,” Terryl says, “(Old
Jube) was informed: ‘We can’t do that. We are out of ammunition. We don’t have
anything to charge with.’”

To that excuse, Old Jube replied: “Dammit,
holler ‘em across!”

According to witnesses, the order was carried out.
Using the Rebel Yell as a weapon, the Rebus charged, frightening the Federals
off the field.

“This was the best example of the effectiveness of the
Rebel Yell I could find,” he notes, thus the title of his book, “Dammit, Holler
‘em Across! – The History of the Rebel Yell.”

  • Also, if you checked Dr. Jones' book on Lee's Tigers (page 80), a veteran of the 1st Battle of Winchester (May 25, 1862), asserts that Jackson's Valley Army had never heard the Rebel Yell until the charge of Dick Taylor's Louisiana Brigade.
  • Pvt. John Williams of Piatt's Zouaves, 34th & 36th Ohio Volunteers, describes the Rebel Yell at a fight with part of Jubal Early's Valley Army on July 24, 1864 (bold added by me):

    "...when within 4 miles of Winchester near Stevensons depot on the widow Carter farm we were attacked by the enemy, fought them for some time and drove them from the field… we entered Winchester and fought the enemy for 2 days. The rebels received heavy reinforcements and were commanded by Gen. Jubal Early on the 24th of July we were attacked by Early’s whole force. The fighting was fearful if ever I heard the rebel yell I heard it that day. Our regiment lost heavy. Col. Shaw was killed, owing to superior numbers we were forced to give way. The 34th was the last regt to leave the field which it did under a galling fire...".

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Coppens' Zouave Battalion

Coppens' Zouave Battalion
Lt. Colonel George Coppens (seated) and brother, Captain Marie Alfred Coppens.Image sold at auction on Cowan Auctions, for $14,375