You know it when you hear it, even if you don’t know its name. It’s a somber bugle cry of a mere 24 notes customary at military funerals and remembrance ceremonies. The somber song is called “Taps” and it was composed in 1862 at Berkeley Plantation in Charles City, Virginia.
General George McClellan’s Union troops occupied Berkeley Plantation during the Civil War, and it was in July 1862 that General Daniel Butterfield composed “Taps” as a “lights out” call to the soldiers. The first bugler of “Taps” was Oliver Willcox Norton.
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the composition, Berkeley Plantation is hosting a weekend-long event beginning this Friday, June 22 and concluding Sunday, June 24.
This weekend, visitors to Berkeley can expect to walk into a living history environment, including a re-creation of the aftermath of the Seven Days’ Battles, President Abraham Lincoln reviewing the troops, a re-creation of the birth of “Taps”, and a rededication of the “Taps” monument.
The “Taps” commemoration event is free, but visitors who wish to tour the 1726 mansion will pay $11/adult, $6/child aged 6-12, and $7.50/student aged 13-16. Also be sure to visit and tour the Civil War 150 HistoryMobile which will be on site for the duration of the event.
Berkeley Plantation is Virginia’s most historic plantation. Its legacy includes being the site of the first official Thanksgiving in 1619. Berkeley is also the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison V, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and fifth Governor of Virginia, and William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the United States whose grandson, Benjamin, became the 23rd President of the United States.
To learn more about Virginia’s rich history visit Virginia.org/HistoricSites.
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