Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Lynda J

THE STORY OF TAPS

Recommended Posts

WHY TAPS ARE PLAYED

 

If any of you have ever been to a military funeral in which taps were played; this brings out a new meaning of it. Here is something EVERY AMERICAN should know. Until I read this, I didn't know, but I checked it out and it's true. We in the United States hall heard this haunting song.

"TAPS". It is the song that gives us that lump in our throats and usually tears in our eyes. But, do you know the story behind the song? If not, I think you will be interested to find out about its humble beginnings.

Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicomb 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 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 in shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier was his own son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out. Without 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 his dead son's uniform. This wish was granted. 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 skies...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, have felt the chill while listening to "Taps" but had forgotten all the words to the song until now. I never heard the story behind the song and I don't know if any of you had either so I thought I'd pass it along. I now have an even deeper respect for this song than I did before.

Please remember those lost and harmed while serving our country. And also those presently serving in the Armed Forces.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From www.snopes.com

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×