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O/T Do you know where Taps originated?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by Shooting Jack, Nov 21, 2009.

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  1. Shooting Jack

    Shooting Jack Active Member

    Jul 29, 2006
    Blackshear, Georgia
    I felt that this might interest some of you. Jackie B.

    We in the United States have all heard

    > the haunting song, 'Taps.' It's the song that

    > gives us the 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.


    > 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 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.

    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.


    > Those Lost and Harmed While Serving Their

    > Country.


    > Remember Those Who Have Served And Returned; and

    > for those presently serving in the Armed

    > Forces.



    > send this on after a short prayer.
  2. Shooting Jack

    Shooting Jack Active Member

    Jul 29, 2006
    Blackshear, Georgia
    Sorry about the formatting as I didn't realize all of the life feeds would be stripped. I fixed it for easier reading. Jackie B.
  3. jimrich60

    jimrich60 Member

    Aug 15, 2007
    A good story, but probably not true. The actual history of "Taps" was compiled by Jari A. Villanueva, a bugler and bugle historian. (Villanueva does mention this story as one of many that cannot be documented or otherwise confirmed by the way). A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory and Kent State University, he was the curator of the Taps Bugle Exhibit at Arlington National Cemetery from 1999-2002. He has been a member of the United States Air Force Band since 1985 and is considered the country's foremost authority on the bugle call of Taps.

    His website, www.tapsbugler.com includes a history of Taps, performance information and guidelines for funerals, finding buglers for sounding calls, many photos of bugles and buglers, music for bugle calls, stories and myths about Taps, Taps at the JFK funeral, ordering his 60 page booklet on Taps (24 Notes That Tap Deep Emotions) and many links to bugle related sites. Jari is also working on book on the History of Bugle Call in the United States Military

    In any event, the primary source of Taps, as outlined by Villanueva is credited to Major General Dan Butterfield as follows:

    "Taps began as a revision to the signal for Extinguish Lights (Lights Out) at the end of the day. Up until the Civil War, the infantry call for Extinguish Lights was the one set down in Silas Casey's (1801-1882) Tactics, which had been borrowed from the French. The music for Taps was adapted by Union General Daniel Butterfield for his brigade (Third Brigade, First Division, Fifth Army Corps, Army of the Potomac) in July, 1862."

    Villanueva's web site contains an extensive review of the origin and later adaptation of the tune which became Taps which is actually quite interesting, though not quite the heart string tug of the story posted. Thought some might want to know

    Jim R
    Major USAF, Ret
  4. Shooting Jack

    Shooting Jack Active Member

    Jul 29, 2006
    Blackshear, Georgia
    Jim, after checking you are right. Jackie B.

    PS. I guess I should have checked before posting. Jackie B.
  5. jimrich60

    jimrich60 Member

    Aug 15, 2007

    It is still a great story which captures the essence of Taps, if not the actual way it came into existence. Although Butterfied used it as a "lights out" call, it did come to be used in military funerals, and is probably the most beautiful and moving bugle call ever written, in my opinion. A fitting tribute to our fallen comrades.

    Jim R, Major, Ret
  6. Barrelbulge(Fl)

    Barrelbulge(Fl) TS Supporters TS Supporters

    Aug 27, 2007
    West Central Florida
    From SNOPES.com
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