The Masonic Trowel

... to spread the cement of brotherly love and affection, that cement which unites us into one sacred band or society of brothers, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that noble emulation of who can best work or best agree ...

[What is Freemasonry] [Leadership Development] [Education] [Masonic Talks] [Masonic Magazines Online]
Articles] [Masonic Books Online] [E-Books] [Library Of All Articles] [Masonic Blogs] [Links]
What is New] [Feedback]

 Masonic quotes by Brothers

Search Website For

Add To Favorites

Help Me Maintain OUR Website!!!!!!

List of Contributors

PDF This File

Print This Page

Email This Site To ...

more light #54

Brother Nelson A. Miles

by Ed Halpaus
Grand Lodge Education Officer
Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Minnesota

16 January 2006

From a now unknown source on the internet, and Denslow’s 10,000 Famous Freemasons.
Brother Nelson Appleton Miles
(August 8, 1839 - May 15, 1925)

Called a "brave peacock" by Masonic Brother & President Theodore Roosevelt toward the end of his service, General Nelson A. Miles no doubt felt he had cause to be proud of his accomplishments in a career that had lifted a volunteer infantryman to the office of commander of the army.

Born on his family's Massachusetts farm, Miles was a clerk in a crockery store when the Civil War broke out. He joined the army as a volunteer and fought for the Union in some of the war's most crucial battles, including Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and the Appomattox campaign. Wounded four times, he rose in rank to become a major general of volunteers and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his personal bravery at Chancellorsville.

After the Civil War, Miles played a leading role in nearly every phase of the army's campaign against the tribes of the Great Plains. In 1874-1875, he was a field commander in the force that defeated the Kiowa, Comanche and Southern Cheyenne along the Red River. In 1876-1877, he led the winter campaign that scoured the northern Plains after Custer's defeat at the Little Bighorn, forcing the Lakota and their allies onto reservations. Then, in the winter of 1877, he drove his troops on a forced march across Montana to intercept the Nez Percé band led by Chief Joseph that had eluded or defeated every unit sent against it over the course of a 1,500 mile retreat from Oregon to the Canadian border. Throughout the rest of his career Miles would quarrel with General Oliver O. Howard, whose troops had doggedly pursued the Nez Percé over those 1,500 miles, as to who rightly deserved the credit for Joseph's capture.

Miles earned the scorn of another fellow officer in 1886, when he replaced General George Crook as commander of the campaign against Geronimo in Arizona. Crook had relied heavily on Apache scouts in his efforts to capture the Chiricahua leader, but Miles replaced them with white troops who eventually traveled over three thousand miles trailing Geronimo and his band through the torturous Sierra Madre Mountains. Finally, Miles sent Apache scouts to help negotiate a surrender, under the terms of which Geronimo and his followers were exiled to confinement on a Florida reservation. Miles exiled his Apache scouts to Florida as well, although they were officially enlisted members of the army, and it was for this betrayal of troops who had served them both loyally that Crook never forgave him.

The 1890 Ghost Dance "uprising" on the Lakota reservations brought Miles back into the field once again. In an effort to restore peace throughout the area, Miles directed troop movements that inadvertently panicked many Lakota bands into leaving their reservations and led both to Sitting Bull's death and to the massacre of Big Foot's band at Wounded Knee. Miles reacted to these developments by working aggressively to implement his longstanding belief that the Lakota should be forcibly disarmed and placed under military control.

In his later years, Miles commanded the troops that put down the Pullman strike riots in 1894, and was commander of the army during the Spanish-American War. He retired from service in 1903, confirmed in his belief that graduates of West Point had an unfair advantage in promotion and were on the whole less capable of command than those who rose through the ranks as he had.

back to top

[What is Freemasonry] [Leadership Development] [Education] [Masonic Talks] [Masonic Magazines Online]
Articles] [Masonic Books Online] [E-Books] [Library Of All Articles] [Masonic Blogs] [Links]
What is New] [Feedback]

This site is not an official site of any recognized Masonic body in the United States or elsewhere.
It is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion
of Freemasonry, nor webmaster nor those of any other regular Masonic body other than those stated.

DEAD LINKS & Reproduction | Legal Disclaimer | Regarding Copyrights

Last modified: March 22, 2014