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On the Right_________ BY FILES INTO LINE!

September 15th, 2008

2008 News
Vol.VII No.1
Vol.VII No.2
Vol.VII No.3
Vol.VII No.4
Vol.VII No.5
Vol.VII No.6
Vol.VII No.7
Vol.VII No.8
Vol.VII No.9

Newsletter Vol.Vll No.8 of the
20th Maine Volunteer Regt., Co. B


Joshua Chamberlain
Gettysburg, 2 July, 1863


 A Civil War Story
The Origins of “Taps”

More than a century has passed since the Civil War traumatized our nation and left scars that required many generations to heal. It was a war that divided not only the nation, but states, cities, villages, neighborhoods, and households. Some 680,000 Americans died in that conflict-more than in all other U.S. wars combined, from the Revolution through Desert Storm. That total does not even include the many civilian casualties. Some communities lost most of their adult male populations, because it was not unusual for a company from a particular locale to be effectively wiped out by a single volley or cannon bombardment.

From out of that horrific war came many stories of inspiration, but few to equal the saga of Captain Robert Ellicombe of the Union Army. The Civil War frequently pitted kinsman against kinsman, but Ellicombe’s story illustrates the ultimate tragedy of that circumstance.

During the Union’s Peninsula Campaign in the summer of 1862, in the aftermath of a battle near Harriman’s Landing. Captain Ellicombe and his men came upon the bodies of several dead Confederate soldiers. The captain ordered his men to prepare the bodies for burial.

As graves were being dug, Ellicombe inspected the corpses and was horrified to discover that one of the bodies was that of his son.

The boy had been studying music at a school in the South when the war began. Communication between them had been cut off but Ellicombe was confident his son was safe since the boy was supposed to be far removed from the fighting. The captain was devastated to discover in so brutal a way that his son had left school and joined the Confederate Army.

When the boy’s personal items were handed to Ellicombe, among them he found a folded scrap of paper. Carefully drawn on it were several bars of music.

Captain Ellicombe went to his commanding officer and asked if he might be permitted to bury his son with full military honors behind Union lines. When permission was granted, he sought out the company bugler and showed him the notes on the paper. Ellicombe asked him if it would be possible to play the notes at his son’s service. It was simple composition and the bugler assured him he could play it.

At the conclusion of the services for young Ellicombe, the low haunting sounds of the melody from the bugle sent chills down the spines of those present as it drifted across the countryside.

The following day Division Commander, General Dan Butterfield, summoned his bugler, Oliver Morton, to his headquarters. He handed Morton a piece of paper and asked him to arrange the notes on it for a new bugle call. It is not known whether Butterfield heard the music at young Ellicombe’s funeral and inquired about it, or if Captain Ellicombe simply gave it to him.

Morton arranged the new call and began playing it for Butterfield’s troops. It was a beautiful melody, but so simple in its composition that other buglers easily picked it up and played it for their units. By the end of the war, the call was being played throughout the Union Army. It is called “Taps.”






19-21 Ft. Knox Encampment



3-5 Leonards Mills Bradley, ME 

31 Fright at the Fort Ft. Knox Meeting & election



11 Veteran’s Day Parade Bangor



6 Christmas Party Eddington Club


Company News

The August meeting was called to order at Brunswick on Aug. 23, 2008 by secretary Paul Smith.

The Secretary’s report was read with no omissions or additions.
  • T. Batty made the motion that the report be accepted, K. Richards seconded.
    • The motion was carried.

The Treasurer’s report was read with no omissions or additions.
  • A. Custer made the motion that the report be accepted, J. Wiersbicki seconded.
    • The motion was carried.

Correspondence -

  • A letter of Thanks from the Cub Scouts from Dedham was read.

Old Business -

  • A date was set for the September encampment at Ft. Knox.
    • The date was set for September 19-21.

New Business -

  • Company elections will be held on Nov. 1 at Ft. Knox.
    • All corporate officers positions are up for election and the military ranks of Lt., Sgt, and one Corporal are up for election.

The following that are mentioned are open slots that no one has been nominated for or asked to hold the position.  You have until Leonard’s Mills to let me know if you wish to nominate someone for a position or you wish to place your name on the ballot.

  • Currently there are open positions on the ballot for...
    • historian
    • 4th Texas
    • 6th Maine Batt.
    • a military officers position.

Another piece of new business was whether the Company wishes to purchase M. Celli’s ambulance.

  • The motion to purchase the ambulance was by K. Richards and seconded by J.Wiersbicki.
    • The motion was defeated.
  • A motion was made by A. Custer to adjourn and seconded by K. Richards
    • Motion was carried.

    Newsletter by:
 Bvt Cor. PJ Smith
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