by Union General Daniel Adams Butterfield
"Taps" was written by Union General Daniel Adams Butterfield and was first performed in July 1862 in memory of the men who died in the Battles of Seven Days.
The memorialized battles were fought June 25 through July 1, 1862, as Union commander General George B. McClellan attempted to capture Richmond from the Confederates led by General Robert E. Lee, who had taken command of southern forces after Gen. Johnston was wounded at the battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks). McClellan, believing he was hopelessly outnumbered (he was not, the forces were about equal), finally withdrew to the James River, thus saving Richmond for the South.
The traditional bugle call at day's end had been "Light's Out," but Butterfield thought it was too formal. The first bugler to play "Taps" was Oliver Wilcox Norton who is quoted as saying, "The music was beautiful on that still summer night and was heard far beyond the limits of our brigade. The next day, I was visited by several buglers from neighboring brigades, asking for copies of the music." The army soon adopted "Taps" to mark the "end of day," (usually 11:00 p.m.), instead of "Light's Out."
Also, "Taps" is played during the National Moment of Remembrance, which occurs for one minute at 3 p.m. local time each Memorial Day. The ceremony honors Americans who died serving their country.
All rights reserved. For details and contact information:
See License Agreement, Copyright Notice.