Alabama is known as the "Yellowhammer State", and the Yellowhammer is the official state bird. During the "War of Northern Aggression", Alabama soldiers were known as "Yellowhammers", probably more commonly pronounced, "Yallerhammers." One version of the story behind this as as follows:
In the summer of 1861, an eager group of 90 Confederate horsemen from Huntsville joined Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry near Hopkinsville, KY. Their wives had made new grey cotton uniforms and brightened the garments with yellow trim around the sleeves and collar. The women were proud of their brave men, and like all wives, wanted them to look nice.
When the Alabama recruits rode into camp, one of Forrest's men named Will Arnett called out in jest, "Yellowhammer, yellowhammer, flicker, flicker, flicker." Arnett had never seen such pretty uniforms and knew that they would soon be stained with mud and blood. Throughout the War, Alabamians were known as, "Allerbammer yallerhammers."
After the War, Alabama veterans often wore the feather of a yellowhammer in the lapel of their coat. Some put a yellowhammer wing in the wide band of their hats. Yallerhammer Clubs were established in many cities to honor the memory of Alabama's Civil War sacrifice.
Return to Original 19th Ala Page