The rebel yell was a real thing

I’ve been reading a lot about the American Civl War of late. Any narrative of the Civil War worth its salt contains a description of the Confederate “rebel yell”. (And no—I am not talking about the Billy Idol song from the 1980s.)

But what exactly did the rebel yell sound like? There were, of course, no audio recording devices in Civil War times. 

It’s worth remembering, though, that many Civil War veterans from both North and South lived into the early decades of the 20th century. (The last verified Civil War veteran died in 1956–within a dozen years of my lifetime.)  So there are motion picture and audio recordings of Civil War vets—just not any from the actual war years.

The above video from the 1930s includes a demonstration of aging Confederate veterans performing the “rebel yell”.

The men in the video are very old. Nevertheless, this must have been terrifying in battle, coming from much younger men bearing guns and hostile intentions.