Home > Politics > “Last Post” – Daniel Butterfield

“Last Post” – Daniel Butterfield

On Presidents Day I probably spent too long talking to my kids and telling great stories about 3 of my favorite presidents, George Washington, John Adams and Abraham Lincoln. (I also include Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan and maybe a few others on that list.) I told them stories about Washington leading a rag-tag group of men down the American coast, barely ahead of the British warships and Hessian Mercenaries, in the snow, shoe-less, hungry… and then crossing the Delaware River in the snow and ice and winning a battle on Christmas Eve in 1776.

I told them about John Adams and all of the selfless service he and his family provided to help create this great nation.

I told them about Abraham Lincoln, walking for miles to borrow a Bible to teach himself to read; walking for miles to return a penny or two that had been given him by mistake; and we read the Gettysburg Address. I was trying to be inspiring. Trying to tell them stories of normal, good men who stepped up to greatness in their lives.

I told them how all Presidents of America are not great, but the great ones have one thing in common: they have fought for the freedom and liberty of our country, our people, US. And there are many that have died in that fight, given their “last full measure.” We honor those fallen with this song. And then I played this video for them.


It was cool to watch them watch it. They were transfixed. 🙂

Who was your favorite US President?

A note about the video:

Taps as we know it is actually a variation of an earlier bugle call known as the “Scott Tattoo” which was used in the U.S. from 1835 until 1860, and was arranged in its present form by the Union Army Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield. Butterfield’s bugler, Oliver Wilcox Norton, was the first to sound the new call. Within months, “Taps” was used by both Union and Confederate forces. It was officially recognized by the United States Army in 1874.

Thanks to the commenters for the correction!

  1. dfm
    March 2, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing what you shared with your family. I “bleed” red, white, and blue so your article touched my soul. I have heard the trumpet solo before and I think I had heard long ago in my life that TAPS was called Last Post. I read once at the military fort near Sturgis, South Dakota, about TAPS and its author. Thanks for reminding me.

    • March 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm

      Yay, I’m glad to hear it. Such a great song, eh? 🙂
      Thanks for sharing!

  2. Forrest Walker
    April 13, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Where can you find the sheet music for 1801 version?

    • April 28, 2011 at 2:27 pm

      I don’t know, but I’ll try to find it and get back to you.

    • Anneliese
      January 11, 2012 at 3:06 am


      just received an email with a video of a little girl playiong the original – my niece is plaling the trumpet and I would very much like to send her the sheet music – did you find it and could you eventually send it to me (arosen_g@yahoo.de) . Many thanks in advance

      sorry i cannot attach the video in question



    • December 15, 2012 at 6:51 am

      Hi Ed, loved this call and I am not even a parent, but even I am denliag with kids, nephews and nieces, kids in the neighborhood and I think it is even more important for us to know how to deal with them, because we do not have any experience at all.So I will be listening in on your next advices too.Thanks a lot for this.

  3. Robert Stell
    July 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Daniel Butterfield was an American general in the civil war (North). He was not yet alive in 1801, so I believe the story provided here is incorrect. Also, when I googled “Last Post” and heard several versions, it bacame obvious that Miss Venema’s trumpet solo shared here is not “Last Post”. If you look carefully on the page while she is doing her beautiful performance, you will notice that she is playing “Il Silenzio”, composed in 1965, I believe. It is certainly beautiful, but it is not “Taps” and it is not “Last Post”. Anyone can google all three pieces and see that they are different from each other.

    • July 6, 2011 at 11:08 am

      Robert, thank you very much for your clarification. I will have to check it out and see what I need to correct. Cheers!

  4. CJ
    March 10, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Two years now and you still have not corrected your errors. I only write this because of the countless emails I get that repeat your misinformation over this piece.

    • March 12, 2013 at 11:45 am

      Thanks CJ. I have made corrections and also sent you an email. Thanks for reading and for the correction!

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