TAPS

 

It doesn’t matter where you are from we’ve all heard this little haunting song. “Taps.” It’s the song that gives us that lump in our throats and usually creates tears in our eyes. But, do you know the story behind the song? If not, I think you will be pleased to find out about it’s humble beginnings.

          Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the War Between the States, when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison’s Landing in Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land.

          During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier who lay severely wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his own life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment. When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead.

The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. I was his own son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out. With out telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army.

          The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial despite his enemy status. His request was only partially granted, The Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral. The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate. But, out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only one musician.

The Captain chose a bugler, He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth’s uniform This wish was granted, The haunting melody, we now know as “Taps” used at military funerals, was born.

 

Taps

 

Day is done

Gone the sun

From the Lakes

From the hills

From the sky.

All is well,

safety rest.

God is nigh,

Fading light

Dims the sight

And a star

Gems the sky,

Gleaming bright

From afar,

Drawing nigh,

Falls the night.

 

Thanks and praise,

For our days,

Neath the sun,

Nearh the stars,

Neath the shy,

As we go,

This we know,

God is nigh.