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Daniel Butterfield

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Daniel Butterfield

Biography

Daniel Butterfield (31 October 1831, Utica, N.Y. – 17 July 1901, Cold Spring, N.Y.) was an American composer, businessman and military officer.

Butterfield attended Union College, and after graduation in 1849 he was employed by the New York Central Railroad. He then became general superintendent of the eastern division of the American Express Company (which had been co-founded by his father).

Butterfield served in the 71st and 12th Regiments of the New York Militia from 1851 to 1861. He entered the Civil War as a colonel of the 12th New York militia, and led the charge into Virginia. He served in the peninsular campaigns, was wounded at Gaines’ Mills, and covered the retreat to and from Harrison’s Landing. He also took part in all the battles in August and September of 1862. He was made brigadier general and then major general in the regular army for gallant and meritorious service. He was commander of a corps at the battle of Fredericksburg, and chief of staff during the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.

Butterfield wrote Taps in 1862 after the Army of the Potomac had returned to Harrison’s Landing. He whistled the notes of the melody to his bugler.


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