General Nelson Miles' Officer's Vest


Although best known as a major player in the Indian Wars, and later the Spanish-American War, Nelson Miles also served with distinction during the Civil War. He was a self-taught soldier who was commissioned Captain in the 22nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment; by 1864, he had risen to the rank of Brigadier General. He participated in most of the major battles involving the Army of the Potomac, with the exception of Gettysburg.

At the Battle of Chancellorsville, 1-4 May 1863, while serving as Colonel in the 81st New York Infantry, Miles was shot in the abdomen. This was the vest he was wearing at the time he was injured; a small hole at the bottom, with staining around the edges, allows one to envision the severity of the wound caused by a minie ball. The Battle of Chancellorsville, which pitted the Army of the Potomac against the Army of Northern Virginia, ended with a Confederate victory that was not without huge cost: General Stonewall Jackson was accidentally shot by his own men, and was to die of complications from the wound several days later.

Nelson Miles was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions at Chencellorsville. His citation reads: "Distinguished gallantry while holding with his command an advanced position against repeated assaults by a strong force of the enemy; was severely wounded." His Medal of Honor can also be found in the collections of the National Museum of American History.

Associated Date: 1851 - 19021851

Associated Person; User: Miles, Nelson Appleton

Location: Currently not on view

See more items in: Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Military, Military


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Sherman Miles and Mrs. Samuel Reber

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: AF.35126Catalog Number: 35126Accession Number: 87946

Object Name: VestOther Terms: Vest; Man; Army; General Staff; Officer

Physical Description: wool (overall material)dark blue (front color)dark brown (rear color)cotton twill (rear material)gold (buttons material)Measurements: overall: 22 in x 13 in; 55.88 cm x 33.02 cmoverall (padded): 22 in x 13 in x 2 in; 55.88 cm x 33.02 cm x 5.08 cm


Record Id: nmah_446331

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