Nelson Appleton Miles

Nelson Appleton Miles

Westminster, Worcester County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 15 May 1925 (aged 85)
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 3, Grave 1873
Memorial ID 2289 · View Source
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Civil War Union Major General, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, General in Chief of the United States Army. Born to Daniel Miles and Mary Curtis Miles, he worked on the family farm and as a clerk in the family crockery store in Boston. In 1861, he helped raise a company of Union volunteers and was named a Captain. He fought in nearly every battle in the east, during the Civil War, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism at the May 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville. He was wounded four times during the war, including two that were considered fatal. Due to his courage and leadership, he rose swiftly in rank and responsibility, and at age 26, was made Commander, 2nd Corps, with the rank of Major General, in 1864. At the end of the Civil War, he joined the Regular Army, and was given the rank of Colonel, over many other more senior officers. He married Mary Hoyt Sherman in 1868, whose uncles were Ohio Senator John Sherman and General William Tecumseh Sherman.  For the next 15 years, he fought the Indians in the west. In 1880, he was promoted to Brigadier General, Regular Army. In 1886, he was responsible for the capture of the Apache leader, Geronimo. In 1890, he was promoted to Major General, Regular Army. During the Indian Wars, he was noted for his judicious and humane settlement of difficulties without the use of military force. On several occasions, he was responsible for preventing war, and for getting the voluntary cooperation of the Indians to settle differences. In 1894, he commanded troops that President Grover Cleveland sent to Chicago following the Pullman Strike riots. Due to his handling of the riots, he was named Commanding General of the United States Army in 1895. In 1898, he personally headed the expedition to Puerto Rico, during the Spanish-American War, and afterwards, became the first military governor of Puerto Rico. In 1901, he was promoted to Lieutenant General, Regular Army, then the highest possible rank for a career officer. He immediately earned the displeasure of President Theodore Roosevelt by taking sides in a feud between admirals, and by criticizing United States policy in the Philippines. He was retired in 1903, following a bitter public quarrel with the Secretary of War over a scandal involving "embalmed beef" being supplied to the Army. His remaining years were spent in Washington, DC, writing his memoirs. In the spring of 1925, he took his grandchildren to the circus. During the playing of the National Anthem, he rose and saluted the flag, and collapsed immediately with a heart attack, from which he died almost instantly. President Calvin Coolidge personally attended his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 2289
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Nelson Appleton Miles (8 Aug 1839–15 May 1925), Find a Grave Memorial no. 2289, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .