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It began in 1862, during the Civil War, when a Union Army Captian, Robert Ellicome, was with his men near Harrison's Landing in Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of this strip of land.

During the night, Capt. Ellicombe heard the moan of a soldier who lay mortally wounded on the field. The captain decided to bring back the man for medical attention.

Crawling through the gunfire, he reached the soldier and pulled him back toward his encampment. When the captain reached his own lines, he discovered it was a dead Confederate soldier.

The captain lit a lantern, and went numb with shock. It was his son. The young man had been studying music in the South when the war broke out, and without telling his father, he had enlisted in the Confederate Army.

The next morning, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a military burial, despite the man's enemy status. The captains request was partially granted.

He asked if he could have a group of army band members play a dire for his son at the funeral. His request was refused since the soldier was a confederate. Out of respect for the captain, they said they could loan him one musician. He chose the bugler.

The captain asked him to play a series of musical notes found in the pocket of the dead youth's uniform. This wish was granted.

That music was the bugle melody we now know as "TAPS."


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