Soldier to hear Taps
Of all the military bugle calls, none is so
easily recognized or more apt to render
emotion than Taps. Up to the Civil War, the
traditional call at day's end was a tune,
borrowed from the French, called Lights Out.
In July of 1862, in the aftermath of the
bloody Seven Days battles, hard on the loss
of 600 men and wounded himself, Union
General Daniel Adams Butterfield called the
brigade bugler to his tent. He thought
"Lights Out" was too formal and he wished to
honor his men. Oliver Wilcox Norton, the
bugler, tells the story,
"...showing me some notes on a staff written
in pencil on the back of an envelope, (he)
asked me to sound them on my bugle. I did
this several times, playing the music as
written. He changed it somewhat, lengthening
some notes and shortening others, but
retaining the melody as he first gave it to
me. After getting it to his satisfaction, he
directed me to sound that call for Taps
thereafter in place of the regulation call.
The music was beautiful on that still summer
night and was heard far beyond the limits of
our Brigade. The next day I was visited by
several buglers from neighboring Brigades,
asking for copies of the music which I
gladly furnished. The call was gradually
taken up through the Army of the Potomac."
Day is done, gone the sun, |
From the hills, from the lake,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.
Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor,
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
Fare thee well; Day has gone,
Night is on.
Thanks and praise, For our days,
'Neath the sun, Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.