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Col Dixon Stansbury Miles
Birth: May 4, 1804
Maryland, USA
Death: Sep. 16, 1862
Harpers Ferry
Jefferson County
West Virginia, USA

Civil War Union Army Officer. Graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1824, and was posted to the 7th United States Infantry, serving as part of that unit from 1824 until 1847. He spent a number of his early years on frontier garrison duty in the West before become a Staff Officer and Adjutant of the 7th US. Promoted to Captain in 1836, he fought in the Seminole War in Florida from 1839 to 1842. When the War with Mexico started in 1846, he was at the very beginning of it, receiving a brevet to Major for his part in the defense of Fort Brown, Texas in May 1846. He served throughout the rest of the Mexican War, fighting in the Battle of Monterey and the Siege of Vera Cruz (where after the successful siege he was governed as Military commandant for 4 months). His efforts there won another brevet to Lieutenant Colonel, and he was advanced to full-rank Major of the 5th United States Infantry in 1847. He spent the intervening years between the Mexican and Civil Wars almost exclusively on the Frontier battling Indians. In the summer of 1857 he led the southern column of United States forces against Indians along the Gila River, New Mexico, and against the Navajo Indians in 1858. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the 3rd United States Infantry in 1851, and to Colonel and commander of the 2nd United States Infantry in 1859, he was stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas when hostilities with the Southern states erupted in 1861. Recalled to Washington, he was briefly assigned to command a brigade in Major General Robert Patterson’s forces in Northern Virginia before being transferred to the command of Brigadier General Irwin McDowell’s Army near Washington,. DC, and placed in command of a division consisting of two brigades. In the subsequent Battle of First Bull Run, his division saw no real action, but had been placed in a reserve position that tied up Confederate forces. However, Colonel Miles had been accused of being drunk during the battle. He was detailed to await orders a few days after the battle, and was kept without an assignment until March 1862, when he was given command of a brigade that defended the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and, in September 1862, the important Union bastion at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia (the town’s forces were commanded by Brigadier General Julius White, who deferred his command to Colonel Miles due to his lack of knowledge of the terrain and its defenders). When General Robert E. Lee’s September 1862 Maryland Campaign threatened the garrison, Colonel Miles called for re-enforcements, which never came. While Lee’s forces were engaging Union General George B. McClellan’s forces at South Mountain and Antietam, he had detached General Stonewall Jackson to capture Harper’s Ferry. On September 16, 1862 General Jackson compelled Colonel Miles to withdraw his forces from Maryland Heights overlooking the town, and then placed artillery on the spot. Colonel Mile’s move, which has been roundly criticized for being hasty and unnecessary, made the Union hold on the town untenable, and he surrendered the 11,500 man Union force (it would be the largest capitulation of United States Army troops until Corrigidor fell to the Japanese during World War II). While surrendering Colonel Miles was mortally wounded by a Confederate artillery shell (supposedly while waving a white flag), and died in the hands of the Confederates. His death spared him from being arrested and tried by Union military authorities for his inadequate and incompetent defense of the town, which was the fate of some of his surviving subordinates in the affair. The quick capture of Harper’s Ferry allowed General Jackson to send troops Sharpsburg, Maryland, where the helped to turn the tide of the Battle of Antietam from a near-defeat into a tactical draw. (bio by: Russ Dodge) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Sarah Ann Miles (____ - 1875)*
 
 Children:
  John Steuart Calhoun Miles (____ - 1840)*
  Mathew Arbuncle Miles (____ - 1846)*
  Benjamin Bonneville Miles (1841 - 1878)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Saint James of My Ladys Manor Cemetery
Monkton
Baltimore County
Maryland, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Russ Dodge
Record added: Aug 18, 2003
Find A Grave Memorial# 7774425
Col Dixon Stansbury Miles
Added by: Russ Dodge
 
Col Dixon Stansbury Miles
Added by: Izzebella
 
Col Dixon Stansbury Miles
Added by: Izzebella
 
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- Ryan Curtis
 Added: Sep. 16, 2014

- nyfirebird2003
 Added: May. 4, 2014
Rest in peace, Colonel. Though you were flawed, nevertheless, you fought for and died for our Union. You defended our country against those who would have destroyed it. You weren't the only officer that Lee and Jackson outmanuevered. (Mclellan was the wor...(Read more)
- Sharon
 Added: Sep. 16, 2012
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