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"Serving People Is Our Business"


To provide information concerning services provided by the Casualty Assistance Center (CAC). The CAC is a multi-functional work center, which handles actions involving the military service of Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserve members. The CAC is the go-to on all Army casualty issues and guidance for the area of responsibility for South Carolina to include: Benefits and Entitlements; Casualty Assistance; Casualty Assistance Officer Information; Funeral/Mortuary Affairs; Honors Program; and Line of Duty investigations.

Areas of Responsibility

Areas of Responsibility1.  Casualty Operations and Assistance:


Our mission is to assist our Army families in emotionally stressful times of bereavement. We appoint dedicated professionals to aid those families. For more information, call 803-751-4519/7820.


2.  Military Funeral Honors:


Current Army policy is that full Military Funeral Honors are provided for active duty Soldiers, retirees, and Medal of Honor recipients. Full Military Funeral Honors consist of six casket bearers, who also act as the firing party, an officer or noncommissioned officer in charge, a chaplain, and bugler. Veterans, upon request, will be provided a two-Soldier flag folding team and the interment flag presentation. Funeral Homes, which have not previously requested funeral honor support from the Fort Jackson Casualty Assistance Center, please contact us at 803-751-7980/4611. To request Military Funeral Honors, email the electronically completed Funeral Honor Request Form (FJ Form 11-E) to our email address at, along with DD Form 214, Honorable Discharge Certificate, or other proof of Honorable service by the deceased individual. For more information, call 803-751-4611/7980.


3.  Line of Duty Investigation:


Our mission is to serve as approving authority for formal and informal LOD investigations on behalf of the Secretary of the Army; review LOD investigations for compliance with applicable regulations; and prescribe policies and procedures for investigating the circumstances of disease, injury, or death of a Soldier. These policies and procedures provide standards and considerations used in determining LOD status. For more information, refer to Army Regulation 600-8-4 (Line of Duty Policy, Procedures, and Investigations) or call 803-751-4611/7980.


4. Casualty Notification Officer/Casualty Assistance Officer Training:

Our mission is to train the Casualty Notification Officers (CNO) and Casualty Assistance Officers (CAO) on Fort Jackson. Units are to contact the Training Instructor to schedule a training session IAW Appendix 16, FJ OPORD 15-10-001. Attendees are required to print out the training handouts that are emailed to them prior to attending the training session.

Closing Tab

Reporting a Death

Reporting a Death

Active Duty

When reporting the death of an active duty service member to the Department of the Army, which includes full-time Active Guard Reserve personnel (AGR), U. S. Army Reserve (USAR) personnel traveling directly en route to or from or participating in Annual Training (AT), Active Duty Training (ADT), Initial Active Duty Training (IADT), Active Duty for Special Work (ADSW), Special Active Duty Training (SADT) or Inactive Duty Training (IDT) and Army National Guard (ARNG) personnel traveling directly en route to or from or participating in AT, ADT, Full Time National Guard Duty (FTNGD), Temporary Tour of Active Duty (TTAD), IADT or IDT, please have the following information available concerning the member: 

  • Full name
  • Social security number
  • Rank
  • Unit
  • Circumstances surrounding the death
  • Next of Kin (NOK) information

Contact the Department of the Army Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operations Center anytime by calling 1-800-626-3317. Caller will be immediately referred to a local Casualty Assistance Center.

The local Casualty Assistance Center will contact the person who reported the death without delay to provide immediate assistance to the family.


When reporting the death of a retiree to the Department of the Army, which includes retired Reserve and National Guard personnel in receipt of retired pay, please have the following information available regarding the retiree:

  • Full name
  • Social security number and/or service number
  • Date and Place of Birth
  • Retired Rank
  • Retirement date
  • Disability Rating
  • Unit
  • Circumstances surrounding the death
  • Next of Kin (NOK) information
  • Copy of the Statement of Service (DD Form 214)
  • Copy of the death certificate

Contact the Department of the Army Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operations Center anytime by calling 1-800-626-3317. Caller will be immediately referred to a local Casualty Assistance Center.

The local Casualty Assistance Center will report the death to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service for stoppage of retirement pay and the initiation of the survivor benefits process. Family members may receive assistance on related issues as well.


The death of a veteran should be reported to the Department of the Army if:

- The veteran died within 120 days of separation from active duty

- The NOK would like to request a military honors burial or flag

 To do so, please have the following information available regarding the veteran: 

  • Full name
  • Social security number and/or service number
  • Date and place of birth
  • Separation Rank
  • Separation Date
  • Disability Rating
  • Circumstances surrounding the death
  • Next of kin information
  • Copy of the Statement of Service (DD Form 214)
  • Copy of the death certificate

Contact the Department of the Army Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operations Center anytime by calling 1-800-626-3317. Caller will be immediately referred to a local Casualty Assistance Center.

Requesting Funeral Honors

Request Funeral Honors

To schedule military funeral honors, contact your local funeral home. 

Military Funeral Honors

The Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for providing military funeral honors. “Honoring Those Who Served” is the title of the DOD program for providing dignified military funeral honors to Veterans who have defended our nation.

Upon the family’s request, Public Law 106-65 requires that every eligible Veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony, to include folding and presenting the United States burial flag and the playing of Taps. The law defines a military funeral honors detail as consisting of two or more uniformed military persons, with at least one being a member of the Veterans’ Parent Service of the armed forces. The DOD program calls for funeral home directors to request military funeral honors on behalf of the Veterans’ family. However, the Fort Jackson Cemetery staff can also assist with arranging military funeral honors for services at the Fort Jackson Cemetery. 

Burial flags are provided by the US Department of Veterans Affairs at no cost.  Most Veterans are entitled to burial flags.  Only one burial flag may be provided per Veteran.  Flags may be obtained from any VA Regional Office and most US Post Offices by completing a VA Form 2008, Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes, and submitting it with a copy of the Veteran’s discharge papers at either location for family arranged funeral services.  Funeral home directors may also obtain a burial flag on behalf of the deceased military member.

To schedule military funeral honors, contact your local funeral home. 

Military Funeral Customs

Military Funeral Customs

The Practive of Draping the Casket with the National Flag

This custom began during the Napoleonic Wars (1796-1815). The dead carried from the field of battle on a caisson were covered with flags. When the US flag covers the casket, it is placed so the union blue field is at the head and over the left shoulder. It is not placed in the grave and is not allowed to touch the ground.

Flag Folding Ceremony

The Flag folding ceremony stands for the same religious principles on which our country was originally founded. The portion of the flag-denoting honor is the canton of blue containing the stars representing states our Veterans served in uniform. The canton field of blue dress is from left to right and is inverted only when draped as a pall on the casket of a Veteran who has served our country honorably in uniform. The flag is lowered, folded in a triangle and kept under watch during the night as tribute to our Nation's honored dead. The next morning it is brought out and at the ceremony of reveille, run aloft as symbol of our belief in the resurrection of the body.

  • The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
  • The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life.
  • The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the Veteran departing our ranks and who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
  • The fourth fold represents our weaker nature. For as American citizens trusting in GOD, it is to HIM we turn to in times of peace as well as in times of war for HIS divine guidance.
  • The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decauter, Our country, in dealing with the other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong.
  • The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our hearts that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
  • The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through them that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies, whether they be found within our without the boundaries of our republic.
  • The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day.
  • The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion the character of the men and women who have made this country great molded.
  • The tenth fold is a tribute to father, for he too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first born.
  • The eleventh fold, in the eyes of Hebrew citizens, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in their eyes, the GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
  • The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, GOD the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto. "In God We Trust"

The Practice of Firing Three Volleys over the Grave

This practice originated in the old custom of halting the fighting to remove the dead from the battlefield. Once each army had cleared its dead, it would fire three volleys to indicate that the dead had been cared for and that they were ready to go back to the fight. The fact that the firing party consists of seven riflemen, firing three volleys does not constitute a 21-gun salute.

Origin of the 21-Gun Salute

All personal salutes may be traced to the prevailing use in earlier days: to ensure that the saluter placed himself in an unarmed position, and virtually in the power of the saluted. This may be noted in the dropping of the point of the sword, presenting arms, firing cannon and small arms, lowering sails, manning the yards, removing the headdress or laying on oars. Salute by gunfire is an ancient ceremony. The British for years compelled weaker nations to render the first salute; but in time, international practice compelled "gun for gun" on the principle of equality of nations. In the earliest days, seven guns was the recognized British national salute.

Here again we see that the number seven had a mystical significance. In the Eastern civilization, seven was a sacred number: astronomy listed the seven planets, the moon changed every seven days, the earth was created in seven days, every seventh year was a sabbatical year, and the seven times seventh year was a jubilee year. Those early regulations stated that although a ship would fire only seven guns, the forts ashore could fire three shots (again the mystical three) to each one shot afloat. In that day, powder of sodium nitrate was easier to keep on shore than at sea. In time, when the quality of gunpowder improved by the use of potassium nitrate, the sea salute was made equal to the shore salute; 21 guns as the highest national honor.

Although for a period of time, monarchies received more guns than republics, eventually republics gained equality. There was much confusion because of the varying customs of maritime states, but finally the British government proposed to the United States a regulation that provided for "salutes to be returned gun for gun." The British at that time officially considered the international salute (to sovereign states) to be 21 guns, and the United States adopted the 21 guns and "gun for gun" return, Aug.18, 1875. Previous to this time our national salute had been variable; one gun for each state of the Union. This practice was partly a result of usage, for John Paul Jones saluted France with 13 guns at Quiberon Bay in 1778 when the Stars and Stripes received its first salute. The practice was not officially authorized until 1810.

When India was part of the British Empire, the king-emperor would receive an Imperial salute of 101 guns. Unless rendered to a president or the flag of a republic, 21 guns are called a Royal Salute in the British Isles, and even then it is called (colloquially) "royal" in the British Commonwealth. In short, it would be said of the president of the United States, if saluted in Canada, that he received a "royal salute."

The United States also has an extra-special ceremony known as the "Salute to the Nation," which consists of one gun for each of the 50 states. The mimic war is staged only at noon on the Fourth of July at American military ports, although it has been given on a few other occasions, such as the death of a president. 
The Navy full-dresses ships and fires 21 guns at noon on the Fourth of July and the Feb. 22. On Memorial Day, all ships and Naval stations fire a salute of 21-minute guns and display the ensign at half-mast from 8 a.m. until completion of the salute.

Origin of "TAPS"

Of all the military bugle calls, none is so easily recognized or more apt to render emotion than the call Taps. The melody is both eloquent and haunting and the history of its origin is interesting and somewhat clouded in controversy. In the British Army, a similar call known as Last Post has been sounded over Soldiers' graves since 1885, but the use of Taps is unique with the United States military, since the call is sounded at funerals, wreath-laying and memorial services. Taps began as a revision to the signal for Extinguish Lights (Lights Out) at the end of the day. Up until the Civil War, the infantry call for Extinguish Lights was the one set down in Silas Casey's (1801-1882) Tactics, which had been borrowed from the French. The music for Taps was adapted by Union General Daniel Butterfield for his brigade (Third Brigade, First Division, Fifth Army Corps, Army of the Potomac) in July, 1862.

Daniel Adams Butterfield (31 October 1831-17 July 1901) was born in Utica, New York and graduated from Union College at Schenectady. He was the eastern superintendent of the American Express Company in New York when the Civil War broke out. Despite his lack of military experience, he rose quickly in rank. A Colonel in the 12th Regiment of the New York State Militia, he was promoted to Brigadier General and given command of a brigade of the V Corps of the Army of the Potomac. The 12th served in the Shenandoah Valley during the Bull Run Campaign. During the Peninsular Campaign Butterfield served prominently when during the Battle of Gaines Mill, despite an injury, he seized the colors of the 83rd Pennsylvania and rallied the regiment at a critical time in the battle. Years later, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for that act of heroism.

As the story goes, General Butterfield was not pleased with the call for Extinguish Lights feeling that the call was too formal to signal the days end and with the help of the brigade bugler, Oliver Willcox Norton, wrote Taps to honor his men while in camp at Harrison's Landing, Virginia, following the Seven Day's battle. These battles took place during the Peninsular Campaign of 1862. The call sounded that night in July, 1862, soon spread to other units of the Union Army and was even used by the Confederates. Taps was made an official bugle call after the war.

The highly romantic account of how Butterfield composed the call surfaced in 1898 following a magazine article written that summer. The August, 1898 issue of Century Magazine contained an article called The Trumpet in Camp and Battle, by Gustav Kobbe, a music historian and critic. He was writing about the origin of bugle calls in the Civil War and in reference to Taps, wrote: "In speaking of our trumpet calls I purposely omitted one with which it seemed most appropriate to close this article, for it is the call which closes the soldier's day. . . . Lights Out. I have not been able to trace this call to any other service. If it seems probable, it was original with Major Seymour, he has given our army the most beautiful of all trumpet-calls."

Kobbe was using as an authority the Army drill manual on infantry tactics prepared by Major General Emory Upton in 1867 (revised in 1874). The bugle calls in the manual were compiled by Major (later General) Truman Seymour of the 5th US Artillery. Taps was called Extinguish Lights in these manuals since it was to replace the Lights Out call disliked by Butterfield. The title of the call was not changed until later, although other manuals started calling it Taps because most Soldiers knew it by that name. Since Seymour was responsible for the music in the Army manual, Kobbe assumed that he had written the call. Kobbe's inability to find the origin of Extinguish Lights (Taps) prompted a letter from Oliver W. Norton in Chicago who claimed he knew how the call came about and that he was the first to perform it.

Norton wrote:
Chicago, August 8, 1898
"I was much interested in reading the article by Mr. Gustav Kobbe, on the Trumpet and Bugle Calls, in the August Century. Mr. Kobbe says that he has been unable to trace the origin of the call now used for Taps, or the Go to sleep, as it is generally called by the Soldiers. As I am unable to give the origin of this call, I think the following statement may be of interest to Mr. Kobbe and your readers..... During the early part of the Civil War I was bugler at the Headquarters of Butterfield s Brigade, Morell's Division, Fitz-John Porter's Corp, Army of the Potomac. Up to July, 1862, the Infantry call for Taps was that set down in Casey's Tactics, which Mr. Kobbe says was borrowed from the French. One day, soon after the seven days battles on the Peninsular, when the Army of the Potomac was lying in camp at Harrison's Landing, General Daniel Butterfield, then commanding our Brigade, sent for me, and showing me some notes on a staff written in pencil on the back of an 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 that call for Taps thereafter in place of the regulation call. The music was beautiful on that still summer night, and was heard far beyond the limits of our Brigade. The next day I was visited by several buglers from neighboring Brigades, asking for copies of the music which I gladly furnished. I think no general order was issued from army headquarters authorizing the substitution of this for the regulation call, but as each brigade commander exercised his own discretion in such minor matters, the call was gradually taken up through the Army of the Potomac. I have been told that it was carried to the Western Armies by the 11th and 12th Corps, when they went to Chattanooga in the fall of 1863, and rapidly made it s way through those armies. I did not presume to question General Butterfield at the time, but from the manner in which the call was given to me, I have no doubt he composed it in his tent at Harrison's Landing. I think General Butterfield is living at Cold Spring, New York. If you think the matter of sufficient interest, and care to write him on the subject, I have no doubt he will confirm my statement." - Oliver W. Norton

The editor did write to Butterfield as suggested by Norton. In answer to the inquiry from the editor of the Century, General Butterfield writing from Gragside, Cold Spring, under the date of August 31, 1898 wrote: "I recall, in my dim memory, the substantial truth of the statement made by Norton, of the 83rd Pa., about bugle calls. His letter gives the impression that I personally wrote the notes for the call. The facts are, that at the time I could sound calls on the bugle as a necessary part of military knowledge and instruction for an officer commanding a regiment or brigade. I had acquired this as a regimental commander. I had composed a call for my brigade, to precede any calls, indicating that such were calls, or orders, for my brigade alone. This was of very great use and effect on the march and in battle. It enabled me to cause my whole command, at times, in march, covering over a mile on the road, all to halt instantly, and lie down, and all arise and start at the same moment; to forward in line of battle, simultaneously, in action and charge etc. It saves fatigue. The men rather liked their call, and began to sing my name to it. It was three notes and a catch. I can not write a note of music, but have gotten my wife to write it from my whistling it to her, and enclose it. The men would sing, Dan, Dan, Dan, Butterfield, Butterfield to the notes when a call came. Later, in battle, or in some trying circumstances or an advance of difficulties, they sometimes sang, Damn, Damn, Damn, Butterfield, Butterfield.
The call of Taps did not seem to be as smooth, melodious and musical as it should be, and I called in some one who could write music, and practiced a change in the call of Taps until I had it suit my ear, and then, as Norton writes, got it to my taste without being able to write music or knowing the technical name of any note, but, simply by ear, arranged it as Norton describes. I did not recall him in connection with it, but his story is substantially correct. Will you do me the favor to send Norton a copy of this letter by your typewriter? I have none." - Daniel Butterfield

On the surface, this seems to be the true history of the origin of Taps. Indeed, the many articles written about Taps cite this story as the beginning of Butterfield's association with the call. Certainly, Butterfield never went out of his way to claim credit for its composition and it wasn't until the Century article that the origin came to light.

There are however, significant differences in Butterfield's and Norton's stories. Norton says that the music given to him by Butterfield that night was written down on an envelope while Butterfield wrote that he could not read or write music! Also Butterfield's words seem to suggest that he was not composing a melody in Norton s presence, but actually arranging or revising an existing one. As a commander of a brigade, he knew of the bugle calls needed to relay troop commands. All officers of the time were required to know the calls and were expected to be able to play the bugle. Butterfield was no different, he could play the bugle but could not read music. As a colonel of the 12th N.Y. Regiment, before the war, he had ordered his men to be thoroughly familiar with calls and drills.

What could account for the variation in stories? Research shows that Butterfield did not compose Taps but actually revised an earlier bugle call. This sounds blasphemous to many, but the fact is that Taps existed in an early version of the call Tattoo. As a signal for end of the day, armies have used Tattoo to signal troops to prepare them for bedtime roll call. The call was used to notify the Soldiers to cease the evening's drinking and return to their garrisons. It was sounded an hour before the final call of the day to extinguish all fires and lights. This early version is found in three manuals the Winfield Scott (1786 -1866) manual of 1835, the Samuel Cooper (1798-1876) manual of 1836 and the William Gilham (1819?-1872) manual of 1861. This call referred to as the Scott Tattoo was in use from 1835-1860. A second version of Tattoo came into use just before the Civil War and was in use throughout the war replacing the Scott Tattoo.

The fact that Norton says that Butterfield composed Taps cannot be questioned. He was relaying the facts as he remembered them. His conclusion that Butterfield wrote Taps can be explained by the presence of the second Tattoo. It was most likely that the second Tattoo, followed by Extinguish Lights (the first eight measures of today's Tattoo), was sounded by Norton during the course of the war. It seems possible that these two calls were sounded to end the Soldier's day on both sides during the war. It must therefore be evident that Norton did not know the early Tattoo or he would have immediately recognized it that evening in Butterfield's tent. If you review the events of that evening, Norton came into Butterfield's tent and played notes that were already written down on an envelope. Then Butterfield changed it somewhat, lengthening some notes and shortening others, but retaining the melody as he first gave it to me. If you compare that statement while looking at the present day Taps, you will see that this is exactly what happened to turn the early (Scott) Tattoo in Taps. Butterfield as stated above, was a Colonel before the War and in General Order No. 1 issued by him on December 7, 1859 had the order: The Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers are expected to be thoroughly familiar with the first thirty pages, Vol. 1, Scott's Tactics, and ready to answer any questions in regard to the same previous to the drill above ordered Scott's Tactics include the bugle calls that Butterfield must have known and used.

If Butterfield was using Scott's Tactics for drills, then it is feasible that he would have used the calls as set in the manual. Lastly, it is hard to believe that Butterfield could have composed anything that July in the aftermath of the Seven Days battles which saw the Union Army of the Potomac mangled by Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Over twenty six thousand casualties were suffered on both sides. Butterfield had lost over 600 of his men on June 27th at the battle of Gaines Mill and had himself been wounded. In the midst of the heat, humidity, mud, mosquitoes, dysentery, typhoid and general wretchedness of camp life in that early July, it is hard to imagine being able to write anything. In the interest of historical accuracy, it should be noted that it is not General Butterfield who composed Taps, rather that he revised an earlier call into the present day bugle call we know as Taps. This is not meant to take credit away from him. It is only to put things in a correct historic manner. Following the Peninsular Campaign, Butterfield served at 2nd Bull Run, Antietam and at Marye's Heights in the Battle of Fredericksburg. Through political connections and his ability for administration, he became a Major General and served as chief of staff of the Union Army of the Potomac under Generals Joseph Hooker and George Meade. He was wounded at Gettysburg and then reassigned to the Western Theater. By war's end, he was brevetted a brigadier general and stayed in the army after the Civil War, serving as superintendent of the army's recruiting service in New York City and colonel of the 5th Infantry. In 1870, after resigning from the military, Butterfield went back to work with the American Express Company. He was in charge of a number of special public ceremonies, including General William Tecumseh Sherman's funeral in 1891. Besides his association with Taps, Butterfield also designed the system of Corps Badges which were distinctive shapes of color cloth sewn on to uniforms to distinguish units. Butterfield died in 1901. His tomb is the most ornate in the cemetery at West Point despite the fact that he never attended. There is also a monument to Butterfield in New York City near Grant's Tomb. There is nothing on either monument that mentions Taps or Butterfield's association with the call. Taps was sounded at his funeral.

How did it become associated with funerals? The earliest official reference to the mandatory use of Taps at military funeral ceremonies is found in the US Army Infantry Drill Regulations for 1891, although it had doubtless been used unofficially long before that time, under its former designation Extinguish Lights. The first use of Taps at a funeral during the Peninsular Campaign in Virginia. Captain John C. Tidball of Battery A, 2nd Artillery ordered it played for the burial of a cannoneer killed in action. Since the enemy was close, he worried that the traditional 3 volleys would renew fighting.

During the Peninsular Campaign in 1862, a soldier of Tidball's Battery, A of the 2nd Artillery, was buried at a time when the battery occupied an advanced position, concealed in the woods. It was unsafe to fire the customary three volleys over the grave on account of the proximity of the enemy, and it occurred to Captain Tidball that the sounding of Taps would be the most ceremony that would be substituted. The custom, thus originated, was taken up throughout the Army of the Potomac, and finally confirmed by orders. Colonel James A. Moss, Officer's Manual Pub., George Banta Publishing Co., Menasha Wisconsin, 1913 Elbridge Coby in Army Talk (Princeton, 1942), p.208 states that it was B Battery of the Third Artillery that first used Taps at a military funeral.

This first sounding of Taps at a military funeral is commemorated in a stained glass window at The Chapel of the Centurion (The Old Post Chapel) at Fort Monroe, Virginia. The window, made by R. Geissler of New York and based on a painting by Sidney King, was dedicated in 1958 and shows a bugler and a flag at half staff. In that picture a drummer boy stands beside the bugler. The grandson of that drummer boy purchased Berkeley Plantation where Harrisons Landing is located. The site where Taps was born is also commemorated. In this case, by a monument located on the grounds of Berkeley Plantation. This monument to Taps was erected by the Virginia American Legion and dedicated on July 4, 1969. The site is also rich in history, for the Harrisons of Berkeley Plantation included Benjamin Harrison and William Henry Harrison, both presidents of the United States as well as Benjamin Harrison (father and Great grandfather of future presidents), a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

It must be pointed out that other stories of the origin of Taps exist. A popular one is that of a Northern boy who was killed fighting for the south. His father, Robert Ellicombe a Captain in the Union Army, came upon his son's body on the battlefield and found the notes to Taps in a pocket of the dead boy's Confederate uniform. When Union General Daniel Sickles heard the story, he had the notes sounded at the boy's funeral. There is no evidence to back up the story or the existence of Captain Ellicombe. As with many other customs, this solemn tradition continues today. Although Butterfield merely revised an earlier bugle call, his role in producing those 24 notes gives him a place in the history of music as well as the history of war.

As soon as Taps was sounded that night in July 1862, words were put with the music. The first were, "Go to Sleep, Go to Sleep." As the years went on many more versions were created. There are no official words to the music but here are some of the more popular verses:

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor,
God keep.
On the land or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night, Must thou go,
When the day, And the night
Need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth 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 our days,
'Neath the sun, Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.

Closing Tab