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National Civil War Museum Explores History of 'Taps'
art daily ^ | 27 may 2005 | PRNewswire

Posted on 05/26/2005 8:10:22 PM PDT by stainlessbanner

HARRISBURG, PA.-PRNewswire/ Each Memorial Day, ceremonies across the country echo with the sound of a plaintive bugle call, played to honor those who died in America's wars. The call is "Taps" and it dates back to the American Civil War.

"There are some heart-warming myths about 'Taps,'" warns George Hicks, the executive director of the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Museum, which opened in 2001, has 65,000 square feet of exhibit space that tells the story of the entire conflict, without sectional bias.

The Museum's exhibit about Civil War music includes six battered and tarnished bugles that served during the conflict. Visitors can use headphones to hear several bugle calls, including "Taps."

The Museum includes "Taps" on its list of Civil War "firsts" because during the war it emerged as the army's bugle call to signal lights out.

The man responsible for "Taps" as we know it today was the Union's Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield. Born in Utica, New York, in 1831, Butterfield commanded a brigade in General George McClellan's Army of the Potomac during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862, when the Union attempted to capture Richmond. The Confederates, under General Robert E. Lee, beat back the Union offensive in a series of intense battles known as the Seven Days' campaign.

During that campaign Butterfield distinguished himself at Gaines' Mill and Malvern Hill. Thirty years after the war he received the Medal of Honor for his bravery at the former battle; at the latter he received the wounds that would lead to "Taps."

As an officer, Butterfield had a rudimentary knowledge of how to play the bugle and sound calls to direct his troops. He had also written out a short, nine-note call he used when he wanted his buglers to attract the attention of only his own soldiers. His men soon added their own words:

"Dan, Dan, Dan, Butterfield, Butterfield."

Or, as their general recalled, they had alternate words when they weren't feeling happy with their commander:

"Damn, damn, damn, Butterfield, Butterfield."

Such calls played an important role during the Civil War. In camp bugles signaled the start of the day with "Reveille" and directed activities throughout the day from "Breakfast Call" to lights out. Soldiers formed up to "Assembly," broke camp to "Boots and Saddles," and reported to the surgeon after "Sick Call."

Bugles also directed troops in combat. A regiment of cavalry might have as many as 25 buglers. When cavalry under General James H. Wilson attacked a Confederate force at the Battle of Front Royal, Virginia, in September 1864, some 250 buglers guided the Union forces through a dense fog.

"I'm reminded of one of the things that Confederate General Robert E. Lee said," says Hicks: "We could have never had a war without music."

At the start of the war the army signaled lights out with the "Tattoo," a bugle call that may have received its name from the Dutch expression "tap toe," which meant it was time to shut off the taps in the drinking establishments so soldiers would return to camp.

Butterfield thought the "Tattoo" was too harsh to help soldiers relax. One night as he was recuperating from his wounds in his tent at the army's base at Harrison's Landing, Virginia, Butterfield scratched out some notes on an envelope. Most accounts say it was an adaptation of a French bugle call, which Butterfield may have known from a military manual General Winfield Scott compiled in 1835.

Then Butterfield summoned Private Oliver Willcox Norton to his tent. Norton, a Pennsylvania schoolteacher before the war, was the bugler for Butterfield's brigade.

Butterfield had Norton play the notes on his envelope, requesting small changes until it was just as he liked it. "After getting it to his satisfaction, he directed me to sound that call for Taps thereafter, in place of the regulation call," Norton recalled in a letter to Century magazine in 1898.

Norton played "Taps" that evening. "The music was beautiful on that still summer night," he wrote, "and was heard far beyond the limits of our Brigade." The next morning buglers from other units stopped by, asking for copies of the music. Although "Taps" would become the army's official lights out call until 1867, it was soon taken up throughout the Union forces.

"Taps" also made its way across Confederate lines, as music often did. "The soldiers would frequently engage in band concerts or singing fests around the fire at night and many are the tales that they would alternate," Hicks says. "The Confederates, poised on the edge of battle, would sing one song and then they'd yell across the lines, 'Alright Yank, let's hear one of yours.'"


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: butterfield; dixie; lightsout; museum; music; reb; taps; union; wbts; yank

1 posted on 05/26/2005 8:10:23 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: McCainMutiny; MacDorcha; JohnPigg; smug; TexConfederate1861; peacebaby; DixieOklahoma; kalee; ...

Dixie 'Bugle' Ping


2 posted on 05/26/2005 8:10:53 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: Valin; archy; snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; Darkshear

military history bump


3 posted on 05/26/2005 8:13:03 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: stainlessbanner

BTTT


4 posted on 05/26/2005 8:13:54 PM PDT by Constitution Day ("It's hard to get an answer when you haven't got a clue" - - The Futureheads)
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To: stainlessbanner
I've been to the museum in Harrisburg. It's expensive, but worth it.

Also, go to 'The Electric Map' in Gettysburg.

5 posted on 05/26/2005 8:15:49 PM PDT by airborne (Dear Lord, please be with my family in Iraq. Keep them close to You and safely in Your arms.)
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To: stainlessbanner
Check out EchoTaps and what they just accomplished.
6 posted on 05/26/2005 8:18:18 PM PDT by jigsaw (God Bless Our Troops)
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To: stainlessbanner

So taps was written as an alternative call for lights out because the original version was "too harsh." "Tattoo" probably sounded like Rosie shouting, "Drink up! It's gettin' on time to close." Taps provided a more honorable denoument for a hard life's work, and for that the world is a better place.

BUMP for a truly enlightening post.


7 posted on 05/26/2005 8:23:21 PM PDT by Fester Chugabrew
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To: stainlessbanner

There's a great passage about Daniel Butterfield in "The Killer Angels." I recommend the book thoroughly.


8 posted on 05/26/2005 8:24:44 PM PDT by Petronski (A champion of dance, my moves will put you in a trance, and I never leave the disco alone.)
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To: Petronski

I believe I remember that passage. Might have been the first I heard of Dan, Dan Butterfield


9 posted on 05/26/2005 8:26:28 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: stainlessbanner

Great story. Paul Harvey did it yesterday. Thanks...


10 posted on 05/26/2005 8:28:36 PM PDT by Pharmboy ("Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God")
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To: stainlessbanner

The other day Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story" was about "Taps." But the substitute dude started out talking about Daniel Butterfield, so I spent two minutes shouting "Taps" at my radio. It did not respond.


11 posted on 05/26/2005 8:33:19 PM PDT by Petronski (A champion of dance, my moves will put you in a trance, and I never leave the disco alone.)
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To: stainlessbanner; Darksheare; quietolong




Actively seeking volunteers to provide this valuable service to Veterans and their families.



12 posted on 05/26/2005 8:37:22 PM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: stainlessbanner; Peanut Gallery

http://www.usarmyband.com/audiovideo/mp3/files/ceremonial/americanspirit/22-Taps.mp3


13 posted on 05/26/2005 8:38:31 PM PDT by Professional Engineer (Memo to republican party - YOU'RE FIRED.)
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To: Petronski; Pharmboy

The sub doesn't do as well as old Paulito. Paul can make those words hang out there and pause just long enough, and then he calmly finishes the story.


14 posted on 05/26/2005 8:38:40 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: Petronski
The whole series of father and son Shaara books, are hugely Great Civil War Novels, Killer Angels, Last Full Measure, and Gone for Soldiers, and my personal favorite is "Gods and Generals", featuring Lee and Stonewall Jackson in action, both the fathers of modern mobile warefare.

By the way, "Gettysburg", by Newt Gingerich was a huge surprise, I cannot believe how well and believable the alternative history of Gettysburg was!

15 posted on 05/26/2005 8:38:50 PM PDT by agincourt1415 (4 More Years of NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN!)
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To: Petronski

Dan Dan Butterfield Butterfield....


16 posted on 05/26/2005 8:44:16 PM PDT by MikefromOhio (Is anyone else ready for football to begin again?)
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To: stainlessbanner

Paul does have it down pretty well, no question. His son is a reasonable sub, but t'ain't the real thing.


17 posted on 05/26/2005 8:47:38 PM PDT by Pharmboy ("Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God")
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To: stainlessbanner

John Wayne
MP3s and Wavs
http://www.fiftiesweb.com/usa/john-wayne.htm

TAPS
Narrated by: John Wayne

http://www.fromtheheartpostcards.com/ICQ/taps.rm

from:

http://www.fromtheheartpostcards.com/ICQ/Taps.html


18 posted on 05/26/2005 10:53:38 PM PDT by quietolong
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To: stainlessbanner

Taps Bump


19 posted on 05/27/2005 6:19:54 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Another beautiful theory, killed by a nasty, ugly, little fact.)
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To: agincourt1415

Newt's "Gettysburg" book was excellent. Very plausible.

Have you read the sequel "Grant Comes East"?


20 posted on 05/27/2005 6:51:40 AM PDT by mainepatsfan
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To: stainlessbanner
!!!!!!!!!!!!!

free dixie,sw

21 posted on 05/27/2005 7:31:27 AM PDT by stand watie (being a damnyankee is no better than being a racist. it is a LEARNED prejudice against dixie.)
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To: stainlessbanner
Isn't "Taps" just a simple melody composed of what musicians call "thirds", or an interval or "separation" of three notes? I am a drummer and tune my drums to that same interval

"dada dum- dada dum- dada dum- dada dum dada dum--- da dum dum dum da da- da da dum"

(16"-16"-13", 16"-13"-12",16"-13"-12",16"-13"-12",16"-13"-12",13"-12"- snare (strainer off) 12"-13"-16" 16"-16"-13"

Drummers you know what I mean...and others? Yes, drummers DO tune drums. And yes, we have all heard ALL the dumb drummer jokes....

22 posted on 05/27/2005 8:46:02 AM PDT by China Clipper
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To: stainlessbanner
Wasn't "Taps", originally called "Butterfield's Lullaby".
23 posted on 05/27/2005 9:22:37 AM PDT by smug (Tanstaafl)
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To: mainepatsfan
My copy of the third and final book in the series, (Never Call Retreat) should be in the mail to me soon. My wife pre-odered it for me for fathers day but blew the surprise by using my email.
24 posted on 05/27/2005 9:31:23 AM PDT by smug (Tanstaafl)
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To: smug

I didn't even know it was coming out so soon!! I can't wait to get my hands on it!


25 posted on 05/27/2005 6:15:10 PM PDT by mainepatsfan
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To: mainepatsfan

Yes, I did it was very good also.


26 posted on 05/27/2005 6:25:08 PM PDT by agincourt1415 (4 More Years of NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN!)
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To: agincourt1415

I was actually in Gettysburg when I saw "Grant Comes East" at a bookstore so I had to buy it immediately.

The two of them also wrote a book about ten years ago called "1945" about an alternate war between the U.S. and Nazi Germany. I wish they'd continue that series as well.


27 posted on 05/27/2005 6:32:03 PM PDT by mainepatsfan
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To: mainepatsfan
I think June 2nd is the release date
28 posted on 05/27/2005 7:43:39 PM PDT by smug (Tanstaafl)
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To: smug

I'm going to call my local bookstore to find out when they'll have it in stock.


29 posted on 05/28/2005 4:03:42 AM PDT by mainepatsfan
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