Saint Mary's Servicemen's Monument | home
About Servicemen's Monument | Contact Us | Calendar | Member List | TAPS | A Word From William Brustman | Related Links
You are probably familiar with the song, "Taps;" and if you're honest
you'll admit that it can bring a lump to your throat and tears to your eyes.
There's just something about it.
But, do you know the story behind the song?
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
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.
"Day is done
Gone the sun
From the Lakes
From the hills
From the sky.
All is well,
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,
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. I now have
an even deeper respect for the song than I did before.