site logo
N.A. Miles

N.A. Miles

Federal (USA)

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

Pre-War he was a Boston store clerk and night school student. In September 1861 he was commissioned 1st Lt. in the 22nd Massachusetts Regiment. In May 1862 he was appointed LCol of the 61st New York. He served on O.O. Howard's staff in the Peninsula campaign, and was wounded while leading reinforcements to the 61st NY at Seven Pines.

On the Campaign

He led the consolidated 61st and 64th NY Regiments, part of the 1st Brigade/First Division of Richardson's Second (II) Corps, after Col Barlow was wounded on Piper's Farm on the afternoon of the 17th.

The rest of the War

On September 30, 1862 he was promoted Colonel, and continued to lead his Regiment at Fredericksburg (wounded) and Chancellorsville (wounded - Medal of Honor). He commanded the 1st Brigade/1st Division/Second (II) Corps at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor. In May 1864 he was appointed BGen. of Volunteers, and fought at Petersburg (wounded), commanded the 1st Division/II Corps in the Appomattox campaign, and in October 1865 was promoted Maj. Gen. of Volunteers.

After the War

He continued in the Army, initially as Colonel (RA). He was criticized (unjustly?) for his custody of Jefferson Davis at Fortress Monroe and he was an "Indian fighter" in the West. He was promoted to BGen USA in 1880, MGen in 1890, and LGen in 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 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.


8/8/1839; Westminster, MA


5/15/1925; Washington, DC