Origin of “Taps”
1 class period
11th Grade US History
Civil War and Reconstruction, 1860-1876
Common Core Standards Addressed:
Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6-12
Maury Neville (2004)
Though there are a number of myths surrounding the origin of the melody, it is apparent that its genesis is sometime during the Seven Days battle around Richmond in July, 1862, by a collaborative effort of Union General Daniel Butterfield and his brigade bugler, Oliver Wilcox Norton.
This music was heard and appreciated by other brigades, both Union and Confederate, who asked for the music and adopted the bugle call not only to be played at military funerals but it would also come to replace the traditional military bugle call, "Lights Out."
It was made the official Army bugle call for day’s end and at military funerals after the Civil War. It was given the title "Taps" in 1874.
What is the importance of marking various periods of time in a military camp?
How, or why, do military traditions become part of the larger society?
The student will be able to:
Song used in lesson:
This lesson would be used in a Civil War unit when important battles are being studied.
Introductory learning activities:
Song discussion questions and activities:
The students will be assigned the following questions to research and answer:
Fading light dims the sight.
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.
From afar drawing nigh – falls the night.
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky.
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.
Then good night, peaceful night,
Till the light of the dawn shineth bright.
God is near, do not fear – friend, good night.
Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor God keep.
On the land or the deep, safe is sleep.
Love, good night, must thou go,
When the day, and the night, need Thee so.
All is well, speedth all to their rest.
Fades the light, and afar goeth day,
And the stars shineth bright, fare Thee well.
Day has gone, night is on.
Thanks and praise, for all our days,
‘Neath the sun, ‘neath the stars, ‘neath the sky,
As we go, this we know, God is nigh.
Bailey, Thomas. The American Pageant: A History of the Republic (Lexington, MA: Heath, 1971).
Arlington Cemetery: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net
“24 Notes That Tap Deep Emotion”
Copyright 2011-2012 Center for American Music, University of Pittsburgh Library System