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N.A. Miles

N.A. Miles

Federal (USV)

Lieutenant Colonel

Nelson Appleton Miles

(1839 - 1925)

Home State: Massachusetts

Command Billet: Commanding Regiment

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 61st New York Infantry


see his Battle Report

Before Antietam

He was a Boston store clerk and night school student before the war. In September 1861 he was commissioned First Lieutenant, in the 22nd Massachusetts Infnatry. In May 1862 he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the 61st New York Infantry, served on General O.O. Howard's staff on the Peninsula campaign, and was wounded while leading reinforcements to the 61st New York Infantry at Seven Pines, VA in June 1862.

On the Campaign

He commanded the consolidated 61st and 64th New York Infantry Regiments, part of the First Brigade/First Division of General Richardson's Second Army Corps, after Colonel Barlow was wounded on Piper's Farm on the afternoon of 17 September 1862 at Antietam.

The rest of the War

On 30 September he was promoted to Colonel, and continued to lead his Regiment at Fredericksburg in December, where he was wounded, and at Chancellorsville in May 1863, where he was wounded again. He was later awarded the Medal of Honor for that action. He commanded the First Brigade/First Division/Second Corps at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor, VA. In May 1864 he was appointed Brigadier General of Volunteers, and fought at Petersburg, again wounded, commanded the First Division/Second Corps in the Appomattox campaign, and in October 1865 was promoted to Major General of Volunteers.

After the War

He continued in the Army, commissioned Colonel, 40th United States Infantry on 28 July 1866. He was transferred tothe 5th US Infantry on 15 March 1869. He was promoted to Brigadier General, USA on 15 December 1880, Major General on 5 April 1890, and Lieutenant General on 6 June 1900. He was commander in chief of the Army from 1895 (through the Spanish-American War) until he retired in 1903.

He was the last surviving full-rank Major General from the Civil War.

References & notes

His service basics from Heitman.1 His gravesite is on Findagrave. His photograph from a CDV offered for sale by Heritage Auctions in 2014.

More on the Web

For another brief biography and his formal portrait (as Army Chief of Staff) see also Nelson Appleton Miles at the US Army's Center for Military History.


08/08/1839; Westminster, MA


05/15/1925; Washington, DC; burial in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA


1   Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, Vol. 1, pg. 708  [AotW citation 29115]