"Taps" Military Bugle Tune Came From a Confederate Soldier Whose
Body was Discovered By His Father, a Union Soldier in the Civil War-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Union Captain in the Civil War named Robert Ellicombe hears the moan of a
soldier in the distance one night near Harrison's Landing in
Virginia. He decides to investigate and discovers that the solider,
who is wearing a Confederate uniform, has died. By the light of his
lamp, he realizes to his surprise and horror that the dead solider is his
own son. The son had studied music in the South and without telling
his father, had enlisted in the Confederate army. The grief-stricken
father requests a military burial for his son, complete with an army
band. His superiors decline, however, because his son was an enemy
soldier, but give him the choice of one musician. The caption
chooses a bugler and using a short piece of music he found in his son's
uniform, the tune for "Taps" comes into being and has been used
ever since for military funerals.
a researcher at West Point, there is no historical evidence that anyone
named Robert Ellicombe even existed in the Union army. Master
Sergeant Jari Villanueva is a part of the United States Air Force Band and
is not only a historian about the tune "Taps," but is working on
an exhibit for Arlington National Cemetery about bugle calls. Both
he and Kathryn Shenkle, Historian for Arlington National Cemetery, agree
that "Taps" came from Brig. General Daniel Butterfield at
Harrison's Landing in Virginia in 1862. Sgt. Villanueva has found
correspondence from both General Butterfield and a bugler which confirm
the origins, although there are some minor discrepancies in their
For more information:|
A real example of the story as it has
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
When the captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier
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, 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 for the son at the
That request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate.
Out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him 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 his dead son's
This music was the haunting melody we now know as "Taps" that is used at all military funerals.
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."