He was awarded the Medal of Honor in the U.S. Volunteers on June 27, 1862. After his brigade lost more than 600 men in the Battle of Gaines Mill, Butterfield took up the colors of the 83rd Pennsylvania Volunteers. Under heavy enemy fire, he encouraged the depleted ranks to regroup and continue the battle.
Butterfield is credited with the writing of the bugle call Taps. Butterfield wrote Taps at Harrison's Landing, Virginia in July 1862 to replace the customary firing of three rifle volleys at the end of burials during battle. Taps also replaced "Tatoo," the French bugle call to signal "lights out." Butterfield's bugler, Oliver W. Norton of Chicago, Illinois, was the first to sound the new call. Within months, Taps was sounded by buglers in both Union and Confederate forces.
Much of this article is taken from a public domain article by Kathryn Shenkle, a historian with Arlington National Cemetery.
See also: Taps