History: Drum Signals

Over two hundred years ago military drummers on both sides of a conflict used their instruments to communicate in camp and on the field of battle. These signals were used for issuing duties and maneuvers. Here are a few common drum signals from the Revolutionary War. (Click on each audio link *mp3):

Turn Right http://www.history.org/history/teaching/enewsletter/volume2/images/turn_right.mp3
Turn Left http://www.history.org/history/teaching/enewsletter/volume2/images/turn_left.mp3
Turn About http://www.history.org/history/teaching/enewsletter/volume2/images/turn_about.mp3
Long Roll http://www.history.org/history/teaching/enewsletter/volume2/images/long_roll.mp3
Water Call http://www.history.org/history/teaching/enewsletter/volume2/images/water_call.mp3
Wood Call http://www.history.org/history/teaching/enewsletter/volume2/images/wood_call.mp3
First Sergeant’s Call http://www.history.org/history/teaching/enewsletter/volume2/images/1st_sgt.mp3
All Non-Commissioned Officers Call http://www.history.org/history/teaching/enewsletter/volume2/images/nco_call.mp3

Samples provided by Dr. William E. White, Director, Educational Program Development, Department of Education Outreach, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

For more on this topic search “Drummer Boys”


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