"Taps" 150 Years by Pamela Harr
"Taps" 150 Years by Pamela Harr
The first casting has been installed in Harr Hall, Ft. Benning, Georgia
to the 150 Year Celebration of its origin during the Civil War
Soldier 6” high Ed 500 $995
Visit these interesting sites for the history of “Taps”
Music in History-- Blowing Taps
The Origin of Taps
Taps – All Gave Some, Some
Gave All. A Legacy of American Warriors
advent of the field radio, the bugler was one of the most important members
of a fighting force since battlefield maneuvers were relayed by bugle
calls. “Taps,” one of the most beautiful and haunting bugle calls, is
recognized throughout the world as one of the most uniquely American
Its history dates back to the Civil War where it began
as a revision by Union General Daniel Butterfield to the borrowed 1809
French bugle call for “Extinguish Lights” at the end of the day. In the
summer heat of July 1862 at the end of the Seven Day’s Battle at Harrison’s
Landing near Richmond, Virginia, men were recovering while more than 29,000
soldiers lay wounded or dead. Desiring something more melodious to honor
his men and with the help of his brigade bugler, 22 year old Oliver Willcox
Norton, Butterfield adapted the 1835 Scott’s Tatou for “Return to Quarters”
into the somber 24 notes that we recognize today as “Taps.” The notes are
much longer, drawn out and the bottom note was taken out. “Taps,” a signal
for the troops to end the day and begin rest, spread quickly to other units
throughout the army and was even used by the Confederates.
The decision to use Taps in a burial service arose out
of necessity. Artillery company Captain John Tibbel had a burial ceremony
for one of his cannoneers. He was afraid of having the three traditional
volleys fired at the funeral for fear that others would think renewed
fighting had started so instead he decided to have a bugler sound the notes
to “Taps.” This was the first official record that “Taps” was sounded at
After the Civil War, Taps was played all the time at
military funerals but it wasn’t until 1891 that it was officially recognized
in the manuals as being part of a military funeral.
Air Force Master Sargent Jari Villanueva, former
Arlington National Cemetery ceremonial bugler, sums up its significance:
“ Its echos linger in the heart long after its tones cease to vibrate in the
air. The same can be said of those who made the ultimate sacrifice; their
legacy lingers and their bravery is not forgotten.”
done. Gone the Sun,
lake, from the hills, from the sky.
well. Safely rest. God is nigh.
Note: The first casting of the bronze sculpture
titled “Taps” a bugler by Pamela Harr is in the Harr Hall display, Ft.
Benning, Georgia in memory of Captain Gerry Harr, killed in action, July 3rd
1971, while serving with C Company, 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment,
during the Vietnam War.
Note: “Taps” is sounded during each of the 2500
military wreath ceremonies conducted at the Tomb of the Unknowns every year,
including the ones held on Memorial Day. “Taps” is also played nightly at
10 PM (2200 hrs) in military installations at non-deployed locations to
indicate that it is “lights out.” When “Taps” is played, it is customary to
salute if in uniform, or to place the right hand over the heart if out of
uniform. After “Taps” is played, it is disrespectful to clap.