Bugle Calls of the Cavalry

The bugle was essential to all military communication for the Civil War cavalry trooper. Bugle calls are musical signals that announce scheduled and certain nonscheduled events in camp as well as project commands across a wide area of the battlefield. Soldiers were quick to learn the calls of the bugle or it could cost them their lives.

Today's Civil War reenactor is not as hard pressed to learn the Bugle calls since the consequences of not knowing them are not as grave. However, in order to put forward a realistic impression, as well as do justice to the men we portray, it is important that we learn these calls as well as they knew them.

 

Listen to the calls below and Learn their meaning and when you think your ready...
Take the Quiz

 
Gait Signals
 
14 Forward (walk) We're ma-ar-ching forward and moving ahead "At theWalk...March!"
17 Trot Trot-ah Trot-ah Trot-ah Trot-ah Trot-ah Trot-ah Trot-ah Trot-ah Trahht "At a Trot"
18 Gallop Gal-up-ing, Gal-up-ing, Gal-up-ing, Boys "At the Gallop"
15 Halt Come to halt, stand fast men "Company...Halt"
   
Direction Signals
 
25 To The Left To - The - Left

"Left into Line!"
         or
"By Fours to the Left...March!"

NOTE: This is a change of formation as well as a change of direction

26 To The Right Facing - to - the - Right

"Right On into line"
          or
"By Fours to the right...March!"

NOTE: This is a change of formation as well as a change of direction

27 Right Turn/wheel A whe-el, a wh-el, time to turn anotherWa-ay, To The Right, To the Right

"Right Turn!"
"Right Wheel!"

NOTE: This is only a change of direction.

NOTE: The beginning portion is often omitted for time sake.

28 Left Turn/wheel A whe-el, a wh-el, time to turn anotherWa-ay, Turn - to the left, Turn - To the Left

"Left Turn!"
"Left Wheel!"

NOTE: This is only a change of direction.

NOTE: The beginning portion is often omitted for time sake.

14+ Forward (walk) We're ma-ar-ching forward and moving ahead "Forward!"
   
Fighting Calls
 
22 Disperse Time to spread out and fight boys, its time to spread out and fight like hell "Fight as Mounted Skirmishers!"
23 Commence Firing Com-mence fi - r- ing, Com-mence fi - r- ing, Com-mence fi - r- ing, my boys "Fire!"
24 Cease Firing Cea - ease Fire, Cea - ease Fire, Cea-ease Fire! "Cease Fire!"
19 The Charge Come on boys, with your sabers, with your sabre for the charge. "Charge!!!"
   
Rally / Retreat
 
21 Retreat Time to Retreat, we wont be beat, but keep up the fire, No slack as we retire
  Rally on the Chief    
20 Rally Come Back, give-it-a spur-and-a-whip-boys,give-it-a spur-and-a-whip-boys,form ranks back here.
16 About Turn it about, Turn it about,turn it about boys. "Right About...March!"
3 To Horse Go get your horses now and form on line, if you do we'll mount up right-on time.
0 Recall Come back here now, Come back here now, Come back , Come back , Come back here now,
   
CAMP CALLS
 
  Reveille   "BE IN FORMATION BY THE TIME THE LAST NOTE IS PLAYED!!!"
0 Assembly of the Guard   Generally Not Used
2 Boots and Saddles   "Saddle Up and Put on your Gear"
9 Water Call   "Water your Horse"
0 Drill Call   Generally Not Used
3+ Stand To Horse Go get your horses now and form on line, if you do we'll mount up right-on time. "Form Ranks with Horse in Hand"
13 Tattoo   "Lights Out"
8 Stable Call   "Prepare to Grain the horses and Clean up the Picket Line"
0 Sick Call   Generally Not Used
11 Dinner Call    
4
Assembly
of the Buglers
(First Call )
   
10 Breakfast Call    
6 Assembly    
12 Officers Call Officers Call, Officers Call, Officers Call on the Run "Officers Call"
0 orders   Generally Not Used
0

distributions

  Generally Not Used
0 Drill Call   Generally Not Used