Taps (Story Of Two Soldiers)
This article is from a recent American Legion Newsletter.
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 moan 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 towards 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. Suddenly, he caught his breath and went numb with
shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his
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, heart broken, the father asked for permission
of his superiors to give his son a full military burial despite his
enemy status. His request was granted. The captain had also asked
if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge
for the son at the funeral. That request was turned down since the
soldier was a Confederate.
Out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only
one musician. The captain chose a 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. This music was the haunting
melody we now know as "Taps" that is used at all military funerals.
In case you are interested, these are the words to "Taps".
"Day is done,
Gone the sun,
From the lakes,
From the hills,
From the sky,
All is well.
God is nigh."
[ Contributed by Woody Woodfill, Captain, USN, Retired -- from Randy Walker ]
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