Myth Blaster: Origin of TAPS Bugle Call


I thought the urban legend tale of the origin of the haunting bugle sounds of “Tap” had died away – it just resurfaced. 
Previously I had sent email to folks giving them the true historical version that West Point historians had researched and wrote. Now, I guess it is time to show the email fraudulent version and then reveal the true history …

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 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 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 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. 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 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.
Safely rest.
God is nigh
.

MYTH BLASTER VERDICT: FALSE
The real story is told from newspaper stories written in 1868 and eyewitness accounts and the origin of bugle calls written in an article Century Magazine, August 1898.
Originally the bugle Taps notes were played when the soldier’s day ended called Lights Out(or originally Extinguish Lightsin the 1867 Army drill manual).But then in was used at burials for soldiers. The person who originally played Extinguish Lights (Taps) was Oliver W.Norton. General Daniel Butterfield was the original writer of the notes, or at least a revised version of the original melody. This call was used in replacement of Extinguish Lights in Butterfield’s brigade, played by Norton.
The real version isn’t as romantic as the made up one or maybe someone decided to embellish to make it more interesting. In Butterfield biography there is also a short account of the Taps history and legend.
The lyric to the email version is the only thing correct. 
SEE ALSO:
Snopes
Urban Legends 
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