The Story of a Civil War Soldier
and The Lyrics to Taps

This is a story of a Civil War soldier, from the Union Army, who found the musical notes and lyrics to the famous "Taps" in the pocket of a dead Confederate soldier in the midst of a Civil War battle.

There is no haunting and lonely sound in this world like the sound of "Taps" being played on a bugle, especially at the graveside of a fallen soldier. Even though this is an American custom, I can't help but wonder how many people around the world recognize this tune. Civil War reenactment camp

As many times as I have shed tears while hearing "Taps" being played, I was recently surprised to learn the story behind this legendary melody. I was even more surprised to learn there are lyrics to "Taps".

The Civil War Story Of Taps

It all began in 1862, during the Civil War, when a Civil War soldier on the Union Army side named 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.

photo of a Civil War reenactment camp During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moan of a Civil War soldier who lay mortally wounded on the battle 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 Civil War soldier and began pulling him towards his encampment.

When the captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered this soldier was actually a confederate, but the Civil War 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 Civil War soldier. It was his son. The boy 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 asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral.

That request was turned down, since the Civil War soldier was a Confederate. Out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only one musician.

Cival War reenacment camp 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. The music was the haunting melody we now know as "Taps" and has become a tradition to be used at all military funerals to this day.

I sincerely hope you enjoyed the story of a civil war soldier.

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Below are the lyrics to "Taps".

The Lyrics To "Taps"

Day is done,

gone the sun.

From the hills,

from the lake,

from the the skies.

All is well,

safely rest,

God is nigh.

Go to sleep,

peaceful sleep.

My the soldier or sailor,

God keep.

On the land

or the deep,

Safe in sleep.

Love, good night,

Must thou go,

When the day,

And the night

Need thee so?

All is well.

Speedeth all

To their rest.

Fades the light; And afar

Goeth day,

And the stars

Shineth bright,

Fare thee well;

Day has gone,

Night is on.

Thanks and praise,

For our days,

'Neath the stars,

'Neath the sky,

As we go,

This we know,

God is nigh.


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