BORN: 1839 in Westminster, MA.
DIED: 1925 in District of Columbia.
(When he died, Miles was the last full-rank Major General of the Civil War.)
CAMPAIGNS: Peninsula, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness,
Spotsylvania, and Petersburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Mine Run.
Nelson Appleton Miles was born on August 8, 1839, in Westminster, Massachusetts. In order to obtain more education, he went to Boston at the age of 17. He worked in a crockery store during the day, and went to school at night. Miles also received some military education from Col. M. Salignac, a former French officer. When the Civil War began, he went out and recruited volunteers for the 22d Massachusetts regiment. Because of his young age, he was kept on staff throughout the Peninsula Campaign, in which he was wounded. Wounded at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, he was brevetted a brigadier general and awarded the Medal of Honor. Miles fought at the Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania, and was wounded for the fourth time at Petersburg. He was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers on May 12, 1864, and again promoted to major general on October 21, 1865. In 1866, when the Regular Army was reorganized, Miles took the opportunity to turn his military activities into a serious professional career. He was appointed colonel of the 40th US Infantry, with all African American troops; then, after commanding at Fort Monroe, was moved to the 5th US Infantry. After the Civil War, he was posted to the West, he was able to "pacify" Native Americans with a high success rate, and even captured Geronimo. Miles was promoted to brigadier general in the US Army in 1880, major general in 1890 and lieutenant general in 1900. Appointed commander in chief of the army in 1895, he served through the Spanish-American War and remained until his retirement in 1903. He spent his retirement in Washington, and wrote an autobiography and a book called "Serving the Republic." Miles outlived all the other full-rank major generals of the Civil War, and died in the District of Columbia, on May 15, 1925.