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(Aprocryphal and Otherwise)

           For those holding a Military Funeral, or simply observing
           "Armistice Day" or "Veterans Day", especially our American friends,
           the following story may prove to be helpful.  The source of the
           particular wording of this story is not available to us - suffice 
           to say it is not our wording, but the story itself is best described 
           as "traditional". See the links below for the real version of Taps 
           and for MIDI and WAV files.

              T A P S
Lyrics By Major General Daniel Butterfield
    Army of the Potomac, Civil War

 "Fading light dims the sight,
 And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.
 From afar drawing nigh -- Falls the night.

 "Day is done, gone the sun,
 From the lake, from the hills, from the sky.
 All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

 "Then good night, peaceful night,
 Till the light of the dawn shineth bright,
 God is near, do not fear -- Friend, good night."

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 toward his encampment.
When the captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered
it was  actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was 

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 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 partially granted. The captain had
asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a
funeral dirge of 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.  He asked the bugler
to play a series of musical notes he found on a piece of paper
in the pocket of the dead youth's uniform.  This wish was granted.

This music was the haunting melody we now know as "Taps" used
at all military funerals. First played for its composer.

Audio iconListen to a WAV file of "Taps", played as the last call of the day - to stop all talking and have lights out by the last note.

Audio iconListen to "Taps" in a MIDI file


The Story Of Taps - a different version and, in more detail, 24 Notes That Tap Deep Emotions
Bugling Merit Badge: Bugle Calls (MIDI) including Taps.
Bugle Calls And Marches: Bugle Calls Download Page.
The Bugle: Sound Of Tradition

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