I never knew this and you probably did not either, but I'm sure will
never forget it. We have all heard the 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 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
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 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, 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 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
Day is done
Gone the sun
From the lakes
From the hills
From the sky.
All is well, Safely rest.
God is nigh.
Dims the sight
And a star
Gems the sky,
Falls the night.
Thanks and praise,
For our days,
Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.