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  • Soldiers carving

Civil War soldier-made Horn Whistle, with great age


Product Description

This is another great piece being offered, it is a Civil War or earlier hand-made horn whistle. The overall length of the whistle is about 3”. This was carved from the tip of a steer’s horn. There are instances where whistles were recovered from campsites and battlefields, often made of bone or pewter.

During the Civil War there was significant down-time for soldiers, especially in winter camps, and carving was a great pastime. In my book “The Civil War Soldier – His Personal Items”, I go into more detail on how soldiers occupied their time.

Whistles were often used by both officers and NCOs. They were easy to carry and could direct men without having to depend on a bugler. A great story concerning whistles was by a Confederate Missouri officer, Captain Joseph Boyce:

"We were also joined by a company from the Second regiment, Col. F. M. Cockrell. The three companies formed a battalion and were placed under command of Lieut. Col. Hubb[ell] of the Third Missouri. Our movements were executed by calls from a whistle instead of the bugle. We discarded the bugle some months previous though the influence of Capt. Burke, as the calls on this instrument were the same as those used by the federal forces. Hence, while we had the advantage of knowing his movements by the bugle calls, he could not anticipate our moves, as he was not familiar with our orders by the whistle. This change afforded us great advantage and amusement while we anticipated his every move."

This is truly a unique whistle, meticulously carved from a horn and it actually still works. A small hole on the very end would have been for a string or cord to put around the soldier’s neck. This piece, with its great age, could actually go back much longer than the Civil War. It comes in the glass top display case pictured.

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$7.50 (Fixed shipping cost)