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DEDICATION

This site is dedicated to a dear friend of mine. It is through him I got involved in reenacting and my photography of it. He not only got me involved, but he shared his knowledge and his love for reenacting with many others.

It is because of this I created this site; for those that are reenactors, those that want to be, or just those that are interested in the Civil War. Please make use of the links, postcards, chat rooms, trivia and such.... and it is my hope that you will benefit greatly from this site.

I would like to maintain this site as a high quality site, but I need your help. If I make an error or if you have a suggestion for me please do not hesitate to contact me...your help will always be greatly appreciated.

On July 23, 1997 my friend was laid to rest and this is the history of the melody that was played.)

TAPS

This was written by Teresa Jones

Its' sad, haunting melody is one of the most familiar tunes in America. It will be played tonight, just as it has been played for the past 134 years, at United States military establishments throughout the world. The sad tune not only marks the end of the day for soldiers; it also denotes the end of their lives. The melody might spring to mind, but the title of the tune may not:

The tune is Taps, and it has been said it was written by Dan Butterfield. He was a Union General, winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor, and after the war he served as the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Department. He was born in Utica, New York, on October 31st, 1831. He was the third son of John Butterfield, renowned for his dealings with both the Overland Stage and American Express.

Taps sprang from Dan Butterfield's imagination in 1862. During the Civil War, as the United States fought to either tear itself asunder or heal its differences, Butterfield spent July in Virginia with his men. He was as restless as his men that night. Sweat made it's sticky trailings under dirty blue uniforms, plastering the wool against the too hot skin. The brigade was camped at Berkley Plantation, overlooking the James River near Tidewater. Butterfield sat on his cot and thought about the good fortune he had had last month during the battle of Gaines' Mill - his wounds had not been serious. Others, of course, hadn't shared his good fortune. Many dead and wounded had been left behind there. Those that had escaped might have fallen a few days later at Malvern Hill, when Lee's troops attacked but fell back before the Union soldiers. But Butterfield's ruminations were interrupted by his bugler sounding "Extinguish Lights."

Butterfield had never liked "Extinguish Lights", a tune borrowed from the French and played to signal the end of the day. He thought it too stiff and formal for everyday use. In his imagination played a different melody to signal day's end - something peaceful, soothing, and just a bit meloncholy.

Besides his soldiering skills, Butterfield had other talents. He reached into his pocket and drew forth a crumpled, stained envelope. Whistling and humming, he got down to work, finishing his imagination's song. O.W. Norton, Butterfield's 22 year old bugler, recounts what happened next "Butterfield, showing me some notes on staff written in pencil on the back envelope, asked me to sound them on my bugle. I did this several times, playing the music as written. He changed it somewhat, lengthening some notes and shortening others, but retaining the melody as he first gave it to me.

"After getting it to his satisfaction, he directed me to sound the call thereafter, in place of the regular call. The music was beautiful on the still summer nights and was heard far beyond the limits of our brigade. The next day I was visited by several other buglers from neighboring brigades asking for a copy of the music, which I gladly furnished."

The music also drifted across the battlefield and was soon taken up by the Confederate buglers. Later, at a Union military funeral, Taps was substituted for the customary rifle volleys at the graveside. It seems that Union officers were worried that the ceremonial gunshots would set off an attack by the edgy Confederates.

Taps was well on its way to becoming the nation's requiem. It was played when General Dan Butterfield was laid to rest on July 17th, 1901, thirty nine years after he spent a steamy night in Virgina scribbling on an old envelope. He was buried at West Point where his white marble monument still stands.

In the Oneida, New York, Historical Society's collection resides General Butterfield's Medal of Honor, his silver mess gear, two of his swords and other memorabilia. That, and the haunting melody at sunset, are all that's left of him.

UPDATE:

In Manhattan, a rather nice statue was erected in his memory. It stands in the park named Sakura Park (if my memory is accurate) at West 122nd Street between Convent Avenue and Riverside Drive. He stands on his pedestal with Riverside Church to his left and Julia Grant's Tomb fixed in his gaze directly ahead of him. Down on West 12th Street where he lived after the War, a noteworthy small apartment building stands on the site of his home. This late 20th century building is called Butterfield House. Thank you to Ron Haber who's wife is a great-great-great niece of General Butterfield.(Kinderhook Lake, NY)

I have had a request for the lyrics to taps here they 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.

I would also like to tell you a couple of other things, about his beliefs. Henry or Sarge(as he was called by many) felt that we, must protect our freedoms, the ones dearly fought for in our daily lifes. Not necessarily in war, but by simply using our freedoms, like the right to vote and right to use our representatives to express our concerns. For it is through the abuse of our freedoms, and the lack of use that we will lose these freedoms, so dearly fought for. And if this happens our soldiers...every soldier that shed his blood for us would of died in vain. We must not let this happen. So as you go through your daily lifes, you must dedicate yourselves to the preservation of these freedoms.

There was another thing that bothered him, and that was the lack of respect some people show our veterans, and those that died for our us. At times he would be disheartened that Columbus Day or Martin Luther King Day are a national holidays and Veteran's Day would go unnoticed, by many. For he believed that we must not only honor our soldiers on Memorial Day, but this day as well, These were a few of his convictions, please let us think about these and live your daily lives accordingly.

There are a few other things he would encourage us to do, and that is to think about those missing in action, and our men across the seas. So, again let me ask you as you go about your daily activities remember those who are helping to preserve your freedoms.

This is one person's thought on this matter.
"While I encourage people to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice that allows us to relax and cook burgers this weekend, I also want to remember those living heroes who are stationed around the world and won't be home this weekend to enjoy the benefits of this great country.

Since December, I have been sending out gift packages every week or so containing a book, soap, gum, cookies, and a letter of thanks to our troops in Bosnia. If you can, please take the time to send a package to our troops around the world.

For Bosnia you can send a package addressed to:
Any Servicemember
Operation Joint Guard
APO AE 09397-0001 "

Just A Simple Soldier

He was getting old and paunchy (well, not really)

and his hair was falling fast,

And he sat around the Legion,

telling stories of the past.

.

Of a war that he had fought in

and the deeds that he had done.

In his exploits with his buddies;

they were heroes, everyone.

.

And 'tho sometimes, to his neighbors,

his tales became a joke,

all his buddies listened,

for they knew whereof he spoke.

.

But we'll hear his tales no longer,

for ol' Sarge has passed away,

and the world's a little poorer,

for a Soldier died today.

.

No, he won't be mourned by many,

just his friends, and children, and future wife.

For he lived an ordinary,

very quiet sort of life.

.

He held a job and raised a family,

quietly going on his way;

and the world won't note his passing;

'tho a Soldier died today.

.

When politicians leave this earth,

their bodies lie in state,

while thousands note their passing

and proclaim that they were great.

.

Papers tell of their life stories,

from the time that they were young,

but the passing of a soldier,

goes unnoticed, and unsung.

.

Is the greatest contribution,

to the welfare of our land,

some jerk who breaks his promise

and cons his fellow man?

.

Or the ordinary fellow,

who in times of war and strife,

goes off to serve his Country

and offers up his life?

.

The politician's stipend

and the style in which he lives,

are sometimes disproportionate,

to the service he gives.

.

While the ordinary soldier,

who offered up his all,

is paid off with a medal

and perhaps a pension, small.

.

It's so easy to forget them,

for it is so long ago,

that our Sarge's and Hank's and Johnny's,

went to battle, but we know.

.

It was not the politicians,

with their compromise and ploys,

who won for us the freedom,

that our Country now enjoys.

.

Should you find yourself in danger,

with your enemies at hand,

would you really want some cop-out,

with his ever waffling stand?

.

Or would you want a Soldier,

who has sworn to defend,

his home, his kin, and Country,

and would fight until the end?

.

He was just a common Soldier

and his ranks are growing thin,

but his presence should remind us,

we may need his like again.

.

For when countries are in conflict,

then we find the Soldier's part,

Is to clean up all the toubles,

that the politicians start.

.

If we cannot do him honor,

while he's here to hear the praise,

then at least let's give him homage,

at the ending of his days.

.

Perhaps just a simple headline,

in the paper that might say:

OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING,

FOR A SOLDIER DIED TODAY.

Remember to always observe Memorial Day, Veteran's Day and show respect to those who have helped preserve our freedoms.

"In Flanders Fields"

by John McCrae (1872-1918)

.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

.

We are the dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.


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