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The Origin of "Taps"

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2010

MSG Michael A. Parnell, Unit Historian


The United States Army Band "Pershing's Own"

"Taps" as we hear it today began as general bugle call that replaced a previous French bugle call for "To Extinguish Lights" which was sounded for lights out to close the soldier's day in the mid 1800's. The music for "Taps" is a variation of an earlier version of the general bugle call "Tattoo" known as the "Scott Tattoo." Written evidence of how "Taps" in its present form came to be suggests that Union Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield with the assistance of his brigade bugler, Private Oliver Wilcox Norton composed the bugle call.

Daniel Adams Butterfield (1831-1901) was born in Utica, New York, and graduated from Union College at Schenectad...

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