The 1862 Peninsula Campaign was concluding. After the successful defensive battle of Malvern Hill, the Union army rested, as well as it could on the low, humid eastern shore of the James River. Harrison's Landing was a nearly flat flood plain that rose only a few feet above the river at Berekely Plantation. As the site of the very first thanksgiving service (1619)and the location of the first distillation of what would later become Bourbon whiskey(1621), Berekeley Plantation already in Virginia's history books.
Oliver W. Norton, bugler of Daniel Butterfield who commanded the 3rd brigade of the 1st division of the Federal Fifth Corps, witnessed and collaborated in the composition of Taps. At his headquarters on the Berkeley Plantation at Harrison's Landing on the east shore of the James River, Butterfield wrote the call. Butterfield whistled the tune to Norton who played it on his bugle. After some edits Butterfield transcribed the tune in the key of C onto an envelope. Both the Union and the Rebel armies embraced the tune.
Images' Source: Civil War Librarian