Personal Recollections and Observations of General Nelson A. Miles Embracing a Brief View of the Civil War or From New England to the Golden Gate

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Author: Nelson Appleton Miles (1839-1925) signed

Year: 1896

Publisher: The Werner Company

Place:  Chicago and New York


viii+591 pages with frontispiece, plates and drawings from Frederick Remmington. Small quarto (10" x 7 1/2") bound in original publisher's brown decorated cloth with gilt lettering and pictorial to spine and cover. Invitation laid in signed by Miles with an early photograph. Full title: Personal Recollections and Observations of General Nelson A. Miles Embracing a Brief View of the Civil War or From New England to the Golden Gate and the Story of His Indian Campaigns with Comments on the Exploration, Development and Progress of Our Great Western Empire (Howes M595, Rader 2397, Luther High Spot 144) First edition. 

Invitation acceptance to attend the Lotos Club for a dinner dated December 6, 1900 and signed by Miles with an early photograph.

In July 1866, Miles was appointed a colonel in the Regular Army. In April 1867 he was appointed assistant commissioner of the North Carolina Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, serving under bureau commissioner Brigadier General Oliver O. Howard. On June 30, 1868, he married Mary Hoyt Sherman (daughter of Charles Taylor Sherman, niece of William T. Sherman and John Sherman, and granddaughter of Charles R. Sherman). In March 1869, he became commander of the 5th U.S. Infantry Regiment, a position he held until 1880.

Miles played a leading role in nearly all of the U.S. Army's campaigns against the American Indian tribes of the Great Plains, among whom he was known as "Bearcoat" (for his characteristic bearskin coat). In 1874–1875, he was a field commander in the force that defeated the Kiowa, Comanche, and the Southern Cheyenne along the Red River. Between 1876 and 1877, he participated in the campaign that scoured the Northern Plains after Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer's defeat at the Battle of the Little Big Horn and forced the Lakota and their allies onto reservations. In the winter of 1877, he drove his troops on a forced march across eastern Montana to intercept the Nez Perce band led by Chief Joseph after the Nez Perce War. For the rest of his career, Miles would quarrel with General Oliver O. Howard over credit for Joseph's capture.

In December 1880, Miles was promoted to brigadier general in the Regular Army. He was then assigned to command the Department of the Columbia (1881–85) and the Department of Missouri (1885–86). In 1886, Miles replaced General George Crook as commander of forces fighting against Geronimo, a Chiricahua Apache leader, in the Department of Arizona. Crook had relied heavily on Apache scouts in his efforts to capture Geronimo. Instead, Miles relied on white troops, who eventually traveled 3,000 miles without success as they tracked Geronimo through the tortuous Sierra Madre Mountains. Finally, First Lieutenant Charles B. Gatewood, who had studied Apache ways, succeeded in negotiating a surrender, under the terms of which Geronimo and his followers agreed to spend two years on a Florida reservation. Geronimo agreed on these terms, being unaware of the real plot behind the negotiations (that there was no intent to let them go back to their native lands). The exile included even the Chihuahuas who had worked for the army, in violation of Miles' agreement with them. Miles denied Gatewood any credit for the negotiations and had him transferred to the Dakota Territory. During this campaign, Miles's special signals unit used the heliograph extensively, proving its worth in the field. The special signals unit was under the command of Captain W.A. Glassford. In 1888, Miles became the commander of the Military Division of the Pacific and the Department of California.


Some light rubbing to edges. Fold to invitation, photograph stained else very good.

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