Miles, Nelson Appleton

Miles, Nelson Appleton,

1839–1925, American army officer, b. near Westminster, Mass. In 1861, at the outbreak of the Civil War, he left his job in a Boston store and organized a company of volunteers. He served throughout the war, distinguishing himself at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and in other important battles, and was made brigadier general (1864) and major general (1865) of volunteers. Remaining in the army as a colonel, he led many campaigns against the Native Americans of the West. He helped subjugate the Sioux in Montana and in 1877 destroyed the village of Chief Crazy HorseCrazy Horse,
d. 1877, war chief of the Oglala Sioux. He was a prominent leader in the Sioux resistance to white encroachment in the mineral-rich Black Hills. When Crazy Horse and his people refused to go on a reservation, troops attacked (Mar.
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. In the same year he defeated and captured Chief JosephJoseph
(Chief Joseph), c.1840–1904, chief of a group of Nez Percé. On his father's death in 1871, Joseph became leader of one of the groups that refused to leave the land ceded to the United States by the fraudulently obtained treaty of 1863.
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 of the Nez Percé. In 1886, as commander of the Dept. of Arizona, he accepted the surrender of the Apache under Geronimo, and in 1890–91, in Dakota, he suppressed another Sioux outbreak. He commanded (1894) the troops that were called out during the Pullman strikePullman strike,
in U.S. history, an important labor dispute. On May 11, 1894, workers of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago struck to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives.
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. In 1895 he became commanding general of the army, rising to the rank of lieutenant general in 1901. During the Spanish-American War (1898), he led the troops that occupied Puerto Rico. He visited the Philippines in 1902, made an official inspection, and reported on the mistreatment of insurgents by Americans. In 1903 he was retired, largely because of his critical report. He wrote Personal Recollections and Observations (1896, repr. 1969), Military Europe (1898), and Serving the Republic (1911).


See biography by V. W. Johnson (1962); study by N. F. Tolman (1968).

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