America's Heroes: Medal of Honor Recipients from the Civil War to Afghanistan

By James H. Willbanks | Go to book overview

Miles, L. Wardlaw

Born: March 23, 1873

Died: June 26, 1944

Home State: New Jersey

Service: Army

Conflict: World War I

Age at Time of Award: 45

Louis Wardlaw Miles was born on March 23, 1873, in Baltimore, Maryland. His father was a Confederate Army doctor in the Civil War. After Miles graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1894, his father urged him to become a doctor. Therefore, in 1897, he received an MD from the University of Maryland. However, Miles preferred English over medicine, so in 1902 he completed a PhD from Johns Hopkins with a dissertation titled King Alfred in Literature. That same year, he obtained an appointment at Princeton. Woodrow Wilson, then president of the university, promoted Miles to preceptor in 1906, and in 1915 he received tenure.

Miles supported the Preparedness Movement and joined the Plattsburgh program in 1915 and 1916. In 1917, he resigned from Princeton and participated in the last Plattsburgh training session. When President Wilson declared war in April 1917, Miles enlisted as a lieutenant in the American Expeditionary Force. He joined the 77th Infantry Division, an Army division comprised of men mostly from New York City. His regiment was the ethnically diverse 308th.

From September 1917 to April 1918, the division trained at Camp Upton, Long Island, New York. On April 21, Miles arrived in France, where his regiment spent the next few weeks training under British tutelage around Flanders, then with the French in Lorraine. In June, Miles inspired the men of his platoon by keeping his wits and calm demeanor while enduring a heavy bombardment of gas and explosives in a German raid. He calmly walked along his line, directing his men’s rifle fire to cover the flank of the neighboring unit, the target of the German raid, as well as his own exposed flank in anticipation of the same.

While in defensive positions on the Vesle River on August 17, Miles claimed to have captured the division’s first German prisoner even though the Official record accredited this distinction to the 307th Regiment the following day. For the remainder of August, the regiment endured constant artillery shelling and fierce hand-tohand combat. Miles assumed command of Company B when his dear friend, Capt. Belvedere Brooks, was killed. Then, on September 4, the division finally stepped out of its stationary defensive positions and began to advance toward the Aisne River, some 9 to 10 kilometers away.

Two days earlier, the Germans began an orderly, planned withdrawal to fortified positions on the Aisne River. As ordered, the 77th Division harassed them the entire way. However, on September 7, the 308th Regiment ran into stiffresistance in front of the town of Revillon, approximately seven kilometers from where they had started a few days earlier. For the following week, the regiment struggled to fight its way up the slopes in front of the town, to no avail. There was a dearth of Officers after numerous failed assaults; some companies were left with sergeants in command.

On September 13, Miles was promoted to captain; he volunteered to lead the next attack on the town, which was ordered for the following day. The assault had no artillery support, and Miles led the first wave of the attack himself. As he reached the German wire, he was hit by machine gun fire. However, he persisted, tackling the entanglement with wire cutters. In the process, he was shot again. In all, he was hit five times; both his arms and one of his legs were fractured. When the second wave arrived at his position, he ordered two men to carry him forward on a makeshift stretcher. His men drove the Germans out of their trench, only 18 inches deep, and prepared for the inevitable counterattack. They held on against continuous shelling from mortars, machine gun fire, and an assault. After a few hours, Miles was ordered, against his will, to be carried to the rear, where his leg was amputated. Unfortunately, the remaining soldiers withered under a daylong artillery barrage, were eventually driven from their hard-won position, and were forced to retake it again. On September 16, the division was relieved from the front, leaving it to another unit to drive the Germans from Revillon.

Miles was awarded the Medal of Honor for his deeds on September 14. Upon his return to the United States in 1919, Miles rejoined the staff at Princeton as an assistant professor. Later that year, he resigned and became the headmaster of the Gilman School in Baltimore, where he remained until 1926. The following year, he published the History of the 308th Infantry, 1917–1919 and became a collegiate professor of English at Johns Hopkins. Louis Wardlaw Miles died on June 26, 1944, and was buried in Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore.

Lon Strauss


Further Reading

Adler, J. O., M. Leonard G. McAneny, and Kaiser August. History of the 77th Division: August 25, 1917 to November 11, 1918. New York: 77th Division Association, 1919.

Miles, L. Wardlaw. History of the 308th Infantry, 1917–1919. New York: G. P. Putnam’s & Sons, 1927.

Slotkin, Richard. Lost Battalions: The Great War and the Crisis of American Nationality. New York: Henry Holt, 2005.

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America's Heroes: Medal of Honor Recipients from the Civil War to Afghanistan
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Entries ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Preface xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • Adams, Lucian 1
  • Baca, John P. 2
  • Bacon, Nicky Daniel 4
  • Baker, Vernon 6
  • Baldwin, Frank D. 8
  • Ballard, Donald E. 11
  • Barfoot, Van T. 13
  • Barnum, Harvey C., Jr 14
  • Barrett, Carlton W. 16
  • Basilone, John 18
  • Benavidez, Roy P. 20
  • Birkhimer, William E. 22
  • Blake, Robert 24
  • Bleak, David B. 25
  • Boyington, Gregory 27
  • Brady, Patrick Henry 29
  • Britt, Maurice L. 30
  • Brown, Bobbie E. 32
  • Bucha, Paul William 34
  • Burke, Lloyd L. 36
  • Bush, Robert Eugene 38
  • Butler, Smedley Darlington 40
  • Butterfield, Daniel 42
  • Cafferata, Hector a., Jr 43
  • Carney, William H. 45
  • Cavaiani, Jon R. 48
  • Chamberlain, Joshua L. 49
  • Childers, Ernest 51
  • Cody, William F. 53
  • Cohn, Abraham 55
  • Cole, Robert G. 57
  • Craft, Clarence B. 59
  • Crandall, Bruce P. 61
  • Custer, Thomas W. 63
  • Dahlgren, John Olof 65
  • Daly, Daniel Joseph 67
  • Davila, Rudolph B. 69
  • Davis, Charles W. 70
  • Davis, Raymond G. 73
  • Davis, Sammy L. 74
  • Day, George E. 76
  • Dean, William F. 78
  • Deblanc, Jefferson Joseph 79
  • Dix, Drew Dennis 81
  • Donlon, Roger Hugh C. 84
  • Donovan, William Joseph 85
  • Doolittle, James H. 87
  • Doss, Desmond T. 88
  • Dunham, Jason L. 90
  • Dunham, Russell E. 91
  • Dyess, Aquilla James 93
  • Ehlers, Walter D. 96
  • Evans, Ernest Edwin 98
  • Faith, Don C., Jr 100
  • Finn, John William 102
  • Fletcher, Frank Jack 104
  • Fluckey, Eugene Bennett 105
  • Foley, Robert F. 107
  • Foss, Joseph Jacob 109
  • Fox, John Robert 112
  • Freeman, Ed W. 113
  • Funston, Frederick 115
  • Galer, Robert Edward 117
  • García, Macario 119
  • Gonsalves, Harold 121
  • Gonzalez, Alfredo 123
  • Gordon, Gary I. 125
  • Hagemeister, Charles Chris 126
  • Harmon, Roy W. 128
  • Harrell, William George 130
  • Hatch, John P. 131
  • Hayashi, Shizuya 133
  • Hayes, Webb C. 134
  • Heard, John W. 137
  • Hendrix, James R. 139
  • Hernández, Rodolfo P. 140
  • Herrera, Silvestre S. 142
  • Hooper, Joe R. 144
  • Howard, Oliver O. 146
  • Howard, Robert L. 148
  • Inouye, Daniel K. 150
  • Irwin, Bernard J. D. 154
  • Izac, Edouard Victor Michel 155
  • Jackson, Joe M. 158
  • Jacobs, Jack H. 160
  • Joel, Lawrence 162
  • Kaufman, Benjamin 164
  • Keeble, Woodrow W. 166
  • Kelly, Charles E. 167
  • Kerrey, Joseph R. 169
  • Kisters, Gerry H. 171
  • Kouma, Ernest R. 173
  • Lang, George C. 175
  • Lemon, Peter C. 177
  • Levitow, John L. 178
  • Liteky, Angelo J. 181
  • Livingston, James E. 182
  • Lopez, Jose M. 184
  • Lucas, Jacklyn Harold 186
  • Luke, Frank, Jr 189
  • Mabry, George L., Jr 191
  • Macarthur, Arthur, Jr 193
  • Macarthur, Douglas 195
  • Mackie, John F. 198
  • Mallon, George H. 200
  • Marm, Walter Joseph, Jr 201
  • Martinez, Joe P. 203
  • McCool, Richard Miles, Jr 204
  • McGinnis, Ross A. 206
  • McGinty, John J., III 207
  • McKinney, John R. 209
  • Merli, Gino J. 211
  • Miles, L. Wardlaw 213
  • Miles, Nelson A. 214
  • Millett, Lewis L. 218
  • Miyamura, Hiroshi H. 220
  • Mize, Ola L. 223
  • Moffett, William A. 225
  • Monsoor, Michael A. 226
  • Monti, Jared C. 227
  • Munemori, Sadao S. 229
  • Munro, Douglas Albert 231
  • Murphy, Audie L. 233
  • Murphy, Michael P. 235
  • Murphy, Raymond G. 236
  • Norris, Thomas R. 238
  • Novosel, Michael J. 240
  • O’Hare, Edward Henry 243
  • O’Kane, Richard Hetherington 245
  • Okubo, James K. 246
  • Olive, Milton L., III 248
  • O’Neill, Richard W. 249
  • Page, John U. D. 251
  • Paige, Mitchell 254
  • Parker, Samuel I. 256
  • Pennypacker, Galusha 258
  • Penry, Richard A. 260
  • Pitsenbarger, William H. 262
  • Pittman, John A. 264
  • Pittman, Richard A. 265
  • Pope, Everett Parker 267
  • Pope, Thomas A. 269
  • Rascon, Alfred V. 271
  • Ray, Ronald Eric 273
  • Red Cloud, Mitchell, Jr 275
  • Rickenbacker, Edward V. 278
  • Roberts, Gordon R. 279
  • Rocco, Louis R. 281
  • Rodriguez, Joseph C. 283
  • Roosevelt, Theodore 285
  • Rosser, Ronald E. 287
  • Rubin, Tibor 289
  • Rudolph, Donald E. 291
  • Ruiz, Alejandro R. Renteria 293
  • Sakato, George T. 294
  • Salomon, Ben L. 296
  • Sandlin, Willie 298
  • Sasser, Clarence Eugene 300
  • Schofield, John M. 302
  • Shafter, William R. 303
  • Shoup, David Monroe 305
  • Shughart, Randall D. 307
  • Sickles, Daniel E. 310
  • Sijan, Lance P. 312
  • Simanek, Robert E. 313
  • Sitter, Carl L. 315
  • Smith, Andrew Jackson 317
  • Smith, Paul R. 319
  • Spurrier, Junior J. 320
  • Stockdale, James B. 322
  • Stone, James L. 324
  • Stowers, Freddie 326
  • Thornton, Michael Edwin 327
  • Thorsness, Leo K. 329
  • Titus, Calvin Pearl 332
  • Turner, George B. 333
  • Urban, Matt 335
  • Vandegrift, Alexander Archer 337
  • Vargas, Jay R. 339
  • Versace, Humbert R. 341
  • Wahlen, George Edward 343
  • Wai, Francis B. 345
  • Wainwright, Jonathan M. 347
  • Walker, Dr. Mary E. 349
  • Ware, Keith L. 350
  • Warren, Francis E. 352
  • Watson, George 353
  • Watters, Charles Joseph 354
  • Webb, Alexander S. 358
  • Wetzel, Gary George 360
  • Whiteley, Eli 362
  • Whittington, Hulon B. 363
  • Williams, Hershel Woodrow 365
  • Wilson, Louis Hugh, Jr. 367
  • Wood, Leonard 369
  • Woodfill, Samuel 372
  • York, Alvin C. 373
  • Young, Rodger W. 375
  • Zabitosky, Fred William 377
  • Zeamer, Jay, Jr. 379
  • Recipients of the Medal of Honor 381
  • Double Award Recipients 487
  • Medals of Honor Awarded by Conflict and Service 489
  • Bibliography 493
  • Index 511
  • About the Editor 529
  • Contributors 531
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