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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-20-2004, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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story of taps

got this in an email


Story of "Taps"


We have all heard the haunting song, "Taps". It's the song that gives us that lump in our throats and usually the story behindcreates tears in our eyes. But, do you know the song? If not, I think you will be delighted to find out about it's humble beginnings.

It all began in 1862 during the Civil War, 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 mortally wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his 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. It was his own son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out. Without telling his father, he 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.....and the haunting melody we now know as "Taps" used at military funerals was born.



The words are .

Day is done... Gone the sun... From the lakes... From the hills...

From the sky... All is well... Safely 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...

Neath the stars... Neath the sky... As we go .

This we know ... God is nigh ..



I, too, have felt the chills while listening to "Taps" but I have never seen all the words to the song until now. I didn't even know there was more than one verse. I also never knew the story behind the song and I didn't know if you had either so I thought I'd pass it along.

I now have an even deeper respect for the song than I did before.



REMEMBER THOSE LOST AND HARMED WHILE SERVING THEIR COUNTRY. And also those presently serving in the Armed Forces.



june 26b

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-20-2004, 11:08 PM
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I got this email a couple times and hit up snopes.com to research it. This is the text from that webpage.


Origins: It's
hard to feel surprised when a melody as hauntingly beautiful as Taps picks up a legend about how it came to be written -- it's too mournfully direct a piece for the mere truth to suffice.

Taps was composed in July 1862 at Harrison's Landing in Virginia, but after that the fanciful e-mail quoted above parts way with reality. There was no dead son, Confederate or otherwise; no lone bugler sounding out the dead boy's last composition. How the call came into being was never anything more than one influential soldier deciding his unit could use a bugle call for particular occasions and setting about to come up with one.

If anyone can be said to have composed 'Taps,' it was Brig. Gen. Daniel Butterfield, Commander of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, V Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, during the American Civil War. Dissatisfied with the customary firing of three rifle volleys at the conclusion of burials during battle and also needing a method of ceremonially imparting meaning to the end of a soldier's day, he likely altered an older piece known as "Tattoo," a French bugle call used to signal "lights out," into the call we now know as 'Taps.' (Alternatively, he wrote the whole thing from scratch, a possibility not at all supported by his lack of musical background and ability.)

Whether he wrote it straight from the cuff or improvised something new by rearranging an older work, Butterfield brought 'Taps' into being. With the help of his bugler, Oliver W. Norton of Chicago, the concept was transformed into its present form. "Taps" was quickly taken up by both sides of the conflict, and within months was being sounded by buglers in both Union and Confederate forces.

Then as now, 'Taps' serves as a vital component in ceremonies honoring military dead. It is also understood by American servicemen as an end-of-day 'lights out' signal.

When "Taps" is played at a military funeral, it is customary to salute if in uniform, or place your hand over your heart if not.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-21-2004, 02:31 PM
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Having played this tune many times over the years (mostly at Memorial Day ceremonies), it's one of the toughest pieces to play. Not due to the difficulty of the piece, but rather the necessity to both control your own emotion, and elicit as much as possible from everyone else. It is not possible to play this piece even once at a service, and remain unchanged. Every single note is a nod of appreciation to the people that've died so that we can have the choices we have in life today.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-21-2004, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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It chokes me up every time I hear it.

I can't say I know about where it came from, thats why I posted it up as " i got this in an email."

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-21-2004, 08:06 PM
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I actually like to email story better...

isn't the truth so boring at times?

<-- Chris

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