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THE LAST POST

By | on May 9, 2015 | 0 Comment

last_postThe Last Post. Is a very melancholic and haunting song with a very sad story behind it. During the American Civil War, in a very cold night in 1862,Captain Robert Ellicombe of the Union Army was fighting against the Confederate Army near Harrison’s Landing in Virginia. In between the two armies was a narrow strip of land.

During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a wounded soldier coming from that strip of land.. Not knowing to which army he belonged to, the Captain risked his life and crawling on his stomach through the gunfire brought the wounded towards his side of the strip of land. Seeing his uniform in dim moonlight, he discovered that the soldier, who had since died from wounds, was from the Confederate Army. The Captain lit a lantern and looked at the face of the dead soldier. He suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock. Even in  the dim light, he could see the face of the soldier-that of  his own son. The boy, hardly 16 years old was a music student and had, without telling his father, enlisted in the Confederate Army.

The following morning, , Captain Ellicombe, a heartbroken father,sought the permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial, despite his enemy status. He asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral.

The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate. But, 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 the dead youth’s uniform.The haunting melody, we now know as ‘The Last Post’ used at military funerals in the American Army was born.

The words are:

Day is done
Gone the sun
From the lakes
From the hills
From the sky
All is well
Safely rest
God is nigh

Fading light
Dims the sight
And a star
Gems the sky
Gleaming bright
From afar
Drawing nigh
Falls the night

Thanks and praise
For our days
Neath the sun
Neath the stars
Neath the sky
As we go
This we know
God is nigh

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