Hear a genuine rebel yell - in safety

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Dec 6 02:18:49 UTC 2006

Pvt. Thomas N. Alexander, CSA, formerly of the 26th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, was recorded yellin' at the age of 90 in 1935.  Hear it now:


  It's a yippin' kinda yell, maybe like them fice dogs folks have been postin' about.  It sure ain't no Yeeha(w) !

  ProQuest reveals a mention in Jan., 1865, by a Yankee, who described the rebel yell as "dog-like."  Could be yippin', could be howlin'. Could be both.

  I also found the less precise descriptors "wild," "blood-curdling," "weird," and "unearthly."  Those are mostly from Yankee sources, by the way.

  My wide-ranging but incomplete search found no *detailed* descriptions other than those Read adduced in 1961. One dubiously reliable source from 1868 asserted that _the_ yell was picked up from the Cherokees of East Tennesse and first used by Americans at the Revolutionary battle of King's Mountain.  Another postbellum source, with marginally greater authority, claims it was used by Jefferson Davis's Mississippi volunteers at Monterey during the Mexican War.


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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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