Daniel Butterfield's Medal of Honor

Physical Description
Star-shaped brass medal suspended from red-and-white striped silk ribbon.
Specific History
1896 Pattern Medal of Honor awarded to Daniel Butterfield, “for distinguished gallantry in action at Gaines Mills, Va. June 27, 1862”
General History
Perhaps best known as the composer of the bugle call "Taps," Daniel Butterfield began his Civil War service as a sergeant in the Washington, D.C., militia. Two weeks later he transferred to the 12th New York Militia as a colonel. He was commissioned brigadier and major general of the Volunteers and he commanded a division of the 5th Corps. He fought at the First Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861. Butterfield was wounded at the Battle of Gaines' Mill, during the Peninsular Campaign; it was also at Gaines' Mill where he seized the flag of the 3rd Pennsylvania and rallied the troops, an act which eventually earned him a Medal of Honor. Butterfield later commanded successfully at Second Bull Run and Antietam, and also saw action at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. During those campaigns he served as chief of staff, Army of the Potomac.
Butterfield is also credited with designing the system of corps badges, an idea which began with Major General Philip Kearney's order to his troops to sew a two-inch patch of red fabric to their hats in order to identify each other during the confusion of battle.
Object Name
associated date
1862 06 27
associated person
Butterfield, Daniel
Physical Description
silk (suspension ribbon material)
brass (pendant material)
overall: 4 in x 2 in x 1/2 in; 10.16 cm x 5.08 cm x 1.27 cm
associated place
United States: Virginia
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Medal of Honor
Civil War
Civil War and Reconstruction
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
The Price of Freedom: Americans at War
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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