Billy Yank

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18-year-old Ludlow Hall of Company I, 61st New York Infantry

Billy Yank or Billy Yankee is the personification of the loyal United States soldier (volunteer or Regular) during the American Civil War.[1] The latter part of the name is derived from yankee, a slang term for New Englanders. Although little evidence exists to suggest that the name was used widely during the Civil War (unlike its rebel counterpart Johnny Reb), early 20th century political cartoonists introduced 'Billy Yank' to symbolize U.S. combatants in the American Civil War of the 1860s.

Billy Yank is usually pictured wearing a regulation Federal blue wool uniform that included the fatigue blouse, a light-weight wool coat with an inside pocket and four brass buttons on the front, with a kepi-style forage cap made of wool broadcloth with a rounded, flat top, cotton lining, and leather visor.


In the universe of the DC Comics, the "Spirit of America" appeared first in human form as the Minuteman and then Brother Jonathan before splitting in two during the Civil War. After the war, the two halves of its essence (Johnny Reb and Billy Yank) recombined to form Uncle Sam.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bell Irvin Wiley. 1952. The Life of Billy Yank: The Common Soldier of the Union. Indianapolis: Charter Books. Pages 454.

External links[edit]

  • "Billy Yank and Johnny Reb: On the Road to Atlanta". Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  • Susan Provost Beller (2007). Billy Yank and Johnny Reb: Soldiering in the Civil War. Twenty-First Century Books. ISBN 0-8225-6803-9. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  • Johnny Reb and Billy Yank: Culture and Tactics in the Civil War
  • Johnny Reb and Billy Yank
  • The Union Soldier