the REAL story behind Taps…

There is a myth about the origin of Taps that is circulating about the Internet. You can find it anywhere online…(I’m not going to repeat the myth, but feel free to CLICK HERE)

However the true story is that in July 1862, after the Seven Days battles at Harrison’s Landing (near Richmond), Virginia, the wounded Commander of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, V Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, General Daniel Butterfield reworked, with his bugler Oliver Wilcox Norton, another bugle call, “Scott Tattoo,” to create Taps. He thought that the regular call for Lights Out was too formal. Taps was adopted throughout the Army of the Potomac and finally confirmed by orders. Soon other Union units began using Taps, and even a few Confederate units began using it as well. After the war, Taps became an official bugle call. Col. James A. Moss, in his Officer’s Manual first published in 1911, gives an account of the initial use of Taps at a military funeral:

“During the Peninsular Campaign in 1862, a soldier of Tidball’s Battery A of the 2nd Artillery was buried at a time when the battery occupied an advanced position concealed in the woods. It was unsafe to fire the customary three volleys over the grave, on account of the proximity of the enemy, and it occurred to Capt. Tidball that the sounding of Taps would be the most appropriate ceremony that could be substituted.”

More about the true history of Taps can be found at: 24 Notes That Tap Deep Emotions and at Military District of Washington Fact Sheet: Origins of “Taps”.

Words to Taps (Note: there are no “official” words to Taps below are the most popular.)

Day is done, gone the sun, From the hills, from the lake, From the skies. All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep, May 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 sun, Neath the stars, ‘Neath the sky, As we go, This we know, God is nigh.

return to Makin Island…

In December, 1999, the United States Marines went to Makin Island to claim the bodies of 19 US Marines that were killed in action on Makin Island in WWII.  This is the story of the return home….58 years later.  It is a very moving video…..grab a tissue…….SEMPER FI


in the Marine Corps

Dear Ma and Pa,

I am well.  Hope you are. Tell Brother  Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine Corps
beats working for old man  by a  mile. Tell them to join up quick before
all of the places are  filled.

I was restless at first because you get  to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m. But I
am getting so I like to sleep late. Tell  Walt and Elmer all you do before
breakfast is smooth your cot, and shine some  things.  No hogs to slop, feed to
pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to  lay.
Practically nothing.

Men got to shave but it is not so bad,  there’s warm water. Breakfast is strong
on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal,  eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on
chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried  eggplant, pie and other regular food, but
tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit  by the two city boys that live on
coffee. Their food,  plus yours,  holds you  until noon  when you get fed
again. It’s no wonder  these city boys can’t walk much.

We go on ‘route marches,’ which the  platoon sergeant says are long walks to
harden us.  If he thinks so, it’s not my  place to tell him different.  A ‘route
march’ is about as far as to our mailbox  at home. Then the city guys get sore
feet and we all ride back in  trucks.

The sergeant is like a school teacher.  He nags a lot.  The Captain is like the
school board.  Majors and colonels  just ride around and frown. They don’t
bother you none.

This next will kill Walt and Elmer with  laughing.  I keep getting medals for
shooting.  I don’t know why..  The  bulls-eye is near as big as a chipmunk head
and don’t move, and it ain’t  shooting at you like the Higgett boys at home.
Al l you got to do is lie there  all comfortable and hit it.  You don’t even
load your own cartridges They come  in boxes.

Then we have what they call hand-to-hand  combat training.  You get to wrestle
with them city boys.  I have to be real  careful though, they break real easy.
It ain’t like fighting with that ole bull  at home.  I’m about the best they
got in this except for that Tug  Jordan  from  over in Silver  Lake .. I only
beat him once…  He joined up the same time as  me, but I’m only 5’6′ and 130
pounds and he’s 6’8′ and near 300 pounds  dry.

Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry  and join before other fellers get onto
this setup and come stampeding  in.

Your loving  daughter,


(thanks, rea!!)