The refrain is one I’ve heard many times in my life, but none more touching than the funeral of a loved one that has served their country in the armed services.
The version of the tune most recognized in modern times was created by Union Army Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield in June of 1862. The song was one of few new traditions that passed over from Union to Confederate life and by 1874 was recognized as a call for ‘lights out.’
Nearly a month after it’s creation, in July 1862, Captain John C. Tidball used the tune in a military funeral to call the soul of a corporal in his unit to rest. By 1891, the sound of TAPS at a military funeral became a regular and expected occurrence.