1862, JULY 01.
There are several legends concerning the origin of Taps. The most widely circulated one states that a Union Army infantry officer, whose name often is given as Captain Robert Ellicombe, first ordered Taps performed at the funeral of his son, a Confederate soldier killed during the Peninsula Campaign. This apocryphal story claims that Ellicombe found the tune in the pocket of his son’s clothing and performed it to honor his memory.
The Seven Days Battles were a series of six major battles over the seven days from June 25 to July 1, 1862, near Richmond, Virginia, during the American Civil War. Confederate General Robert E. Lee drove the invading Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, away from Richmond and into a retreat down the Virginia Peninsula. The series of battles was the culmination of the Peninsula Campaign.
The Seven Days began on Wednesday, June 25, 1862, with a Union attack in the minor Battle of Oak Grove, but McClellan quickly lost the initiative as Lee began a series of attacks at Beaver Dam Creek (Mechanicsville) on June 26, Gaines’s Mill on June 27, the minor actions at Garnett’s and Golding’s Farm on June 27 and 28, and the attack on the Union rear guard at Savage’s Station on June 29. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac continued its retreat toward the safety of Harrison’s Landing on the James River. Lee’s final opportunity to intercept the Union Army was at the Battle of Glendale on June 30, but poorly executed orders allowed his enemy to escape to a strong defensive position on Malvern Hill. At the Battle of Malvern Hill on July 1, Lee launched futile frontal assaults and suffered heavy casualties in the face of strong infantry and artillery defenses.
The Seven Days ended with McClellan’s army in relative safety next to the James River, having suffered almost 16,000 casualties during the retreat. Lee’s army, which had been on the offensive during the Seven Days, lost over 20,000. As Lee became convinced that McClellan would not resume his threat against Richmond, he moved north for the Northern Virginia Campaign and the Maryland Campaign.
Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest
God is nigh.
Il giorno è terminato, il sole è calato
dai laghi, dalle colline e dal cielo
Tutto va bene, riposa in pace
Dio è vicino.
Fading light dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar, drawing near
Falls the night.
La tenue luce oscura la vista.
E una stella illumina il cielo, brillando chiara.
Da lontano, si avvicina
cala la notte.
Thanks and praise for our days
Neath the sun, ‘neath the stars’, ‘neath the sky’
As we go, this we know
God is nigh.
Grazie e lodi per i nostri giorni
Sotto il sole, sotto le stelle, sotto il cielo
come andiamo, questo lo sappiamo
Dio è vicino.