MAJOR GENERAL BUTTERFIELD

The War Between the States

Daniel Butterfield was born on October 31, 1831, in Utica, New York. After graduating from Union College, he became a businessman in New York City. As a New York businessman with the American Express company, he was active in the militia before the war between the States. When the Civil War began, he joined the Northern Army. His rapid advance in the military was largely due to his skill in military administration and his well-placed political connections. 

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MAJOR GENERAL BUTTERFIELD

Major General

Through political connections and his aptitude for administration, he became a major general on November 29, 1862, and served as chief of staff of the Union Army of the Potomac under Generals Joseph Hooker and George Meade. General Butterfield designed the system of corps badges used by the federal army.

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MAJOR GENERAL BUTTERFIELD

Little Napoleon

General Butterfield earned the nickname, "Little Napoleon," because of his bad temper and meddlesome assertiveness. On 27 June 1862 at Gaines's Mill, then Brigadier General Butterfield seized the flag of the 3rd Pennsylvania, and rallied the troops, an act which eventually earned him a Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism.

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MAJOR GENERAL BUTTERFIELD

"TAPS"

In July of 1862, while in camp at Harrison's Landing, Virginia; General Butterfield created "Taps." After the Civil War, "Taps" would be established as the official military call for the end of the day.

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MAJOR GENERAL BUTTERFIELD

Battle of Gettysburg

General Butterfield was severely wounded at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, by cannon fire that preceded Pickett’s charge. General Butterfield resigned from the army in 1870 to serve in the Treasury Department under President Ulysses S. Grant.

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MAJOR GENERAL BUTTERFIELD

Cragside in Cold Spring

General Butterfield retired from Federal service to Cragside, his country home at Cold Spring, New York, a town overlooking the Hudson River which got its name from a spring from which George Washington frequently drank. During his retirement, General Butterfield returned to his business interests and was active in veterans’ groups.

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MAJOR GENERAL BUTTERFIELD

Fishkill Supply Depot Monument

On OCTOBER 14, 1897 Major General Daniel Adams Butterfield, then retired from the United States Army provided an address at the FISHKILL MONUMENT DEDICATION, placed by DAR at the site of the military cemetery on what is now the Fishkill Supply Depot Historic Site.

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MAJOR GENERAL BUTTERFIELD

West Point Cemetery

General Butterfield died at Cold Spring, New York, on July 17, 1901; and was buried at West Point by special order, although he never attended the military academy.

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MAJOR GENERAL BUTTERFIELD

Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor Citation: The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Brigadier General Daniel Adams Butterfield, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 27 June 1862, while serving with U.S. Volunteers, in action at Gaines Mill, Virginia. Brigadier General Butterfield seized the colors of the 83d Pennsylvania Volunteers at a critical moment and, under a galling fire of the enemy, encouraged the depleted ranks to renewed exertion.


General Orders: Date of Issue: September 26, 1892

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