If you've been aching to hear a band play the greatest hits of the 1860s, you're in luck. The Federal City Brass Band is scheduled to give a free concert at
Founded in 2002, the group recreates the sound and appearance of a Union Army regimental brass band from the Civil War era. It's led by Jari Villanueva of
As I reported back in April, Federal City's visit is part of a regular Thursday night series at the fort.
It's one of a pair of regional appearances the band has scheduled. Federal City will play an event called "Taps at Berkeley Plantation" which marks the 150th anniversary of the creation of that mournful tune. The event will take place June 22-24
The event's official website explains what it's all about.
"This three-day event will celebrate the birth of America’s National Song of Remembrance with Civil War re-enactors depicting the Union Army at rest at Harrison’s Landing (on the grounds of the plantation) following the Seven Days
For more on events surrounding the 150th anniversary of "Taps," go here.
Here's Villanueva's essay about "Taps," which explains its origins here in Virginia.
24 NOTES THAT TAP DEEP EMOTIONS
THE STORY OF TAPS
By Jari Villanueva
Of all the military bugle calls, none is so easily recognized or more apt to evoke emotion than "Taps". The melody is both eloquent and haunting and the history of its origin is interesting and somewhat clouded in controversy and myth.
The use of “Taps” is unique to the
Butterfield revised an earlier bugle call. The call we know today as "Taps" existed in an early version of the call "Tattoo" which had gone out of use by the Civil War. Butterfield knew this early call from his days before the war as a colonel in the 12th New York Militia.
As a signal at the end of the day, armies have used "Tattoo" to alert troops to prepare for the evening roll call. Butterfield took the last 5 and a half measures of the "Tattoo" and revised them into the 24 notes we know today. The new call soon spread to other units of the Union Army and was even used by Confederates.
O.W. Norton wrote about the experience later in his life: “During the early part of the Civil War I was bugler at the Headquarters of Butterfield’s Brigade,…One day, soon after the seven days’ battles on the Peninsular, when
The earliest official reference to the mandatory use of "Taps" at the 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 was during the Peninsular Campaign in Virginia. Captain John C. Tidball of Battery A, 2nd Artillery ordered it played for the burial of cannoneer killed in action. Because the enemy was close, he worried that the traditional three volleys would renew fighting. The origin of the word "Taps" is thought to have come from the Dutch word for "Tattoo"-"Taptoe". More than likely, "Taps" comes from the three drum taps that were beat as a signal for "Extinguish Lights" when a bugle was not used.