November 9, 1863
The Yells of Our Army.--The soldier of the Army of Northern Virginia is essentially a yelling animal. He has a yell peculiar to himself, by which his success in battle is denoted even at the very moment of victory. When he is pleased, he yells as an outlet for his exuberant spirits; when he is displeased, he yells at the offending official as an opening of the safety valve restraining his pent up passions. If he is cold, he yells in order to force his blood into more rapid circulation; if he is too warm, he yells out the heat, and thereby relieves his excited feelings. The history of the Confederate yell requires a skillful pen to portray it, in all its peculiarities, so I will drop the subject by merely noticing the latest subject for the exercise of Confederate yelling powers. Whenever a surgeon approaches a regiment, a by-stander would think that the annual migration of all the ducks in the universe had commenced, and that they were concentrated in that particular spot, for the air resounds with "quack, quack, quack," and the unfortunate quack, I beg his pardon, I mean surgeon, rides off, endeavoring to preserve his dignity as best he can.--Army Letter.
Here is how it was described in 1892 by Colonel Harvey Dew in Century Magazine:
“In an instant every voice with one accord vigorously shouted the ‘Rebel yell,’ which was so often heard on the field of battle. ‘Woh-who-ey! who-ey! who-ey! Woh-who-ey! who-ey!’ etc. (The best illustration of this "true yell" which can be given the reader is by spelling it as above, with directions to sound the first syllable ‘who’ short and low, and the second "who" with a very high and prolonged note deflecting upon the third syllable."