Civil War Period Brass Naval or Land Troop Whistle on a Period Lanyard


Civil War Period Brass Naval or Land Troop Whistle on a Period Lanyard – Occasionally, we have seen Civil War period pewter whistles, both dug and non-dug; this is the first brass, Civil War whistle of this type we have seen, and it still retains its original, period lanyard. Approximately 1.5” in length, this well constructed brass whistle, exhibits a scored barrel for firmer gripping and a lanyard ring at the end opposite to the piping end. Through the ring is threaded a lanyard of flat, woven cotton that has two small, macramé knots and one large macramé knot for adjusting the length of the lanyard around the wearer’s neck. Whistles were certainly utilized during the Civil War by sailors, although this is not a boatswain’s pipe, rather this would have been some kind of warning whistle; whistles were also used by land troops as evidenced by this excerpt of a wartime episode, written by a Confederate officer:

“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.”

- Joseph Boyce, Captain Joseph Boyce and the 1st Missouri Infantry, C.S.A., ed. William C. Winter, p. 105-6

Both the lanyard and whistle are in excellent condition.