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John David Miley (1862-1899)
Papers, 1897-1899

Quantity: 1 Box (0.50 cubic ft.)
Access: Open for research
Acquisition: Purchased by the New York State Library as part of the Lyall A. Squair Collection, 1998.
Processed by: Loraine M. Wies, Intern, SUNY Albany, Rockefeller College School of Information Science and Policy, October 1999

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Biographical Note:

John David Miley was born in Belleville, St. Clair County, Illinois in 1862. He was an 1887 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and served at Fort Schuyler and Fort Columbus in New York and in the San Francisco area. In 1894 he was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant. In 1898, while serving as an aide-de-camp to Major General William Shafter, he assisted in the coordination of services for the many war correspondents assigned to cover Shafter's expedition into Cuba during their stay in Tampa while awaiting invasion orders.

Major General Shafter, in his early 50s and weighing over 300 pounds, encountered much difficulty in organizing and initiating the campaign into Santiago, Cuba from Tampa. Plagued by confusing and contradictory orders from Secretary of War Russell Alexander Alger, he arrived in Santiago with only a portion of his troops and supplies. On the day of the assault, General Shafter and Lieutenant Miley, along with other officers, visited the troops and surveyed the area. By the time the attack was to begin, General Shafter had taken ill and was unable to personally command the troops. Lieutenant Miley became the messenger between the front and General Shafter and served as coordinator of the assault. It was his command, under the authority of General Shafter, that the charge which ultimately resulted in Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders securing San Juan Hill was initiated.

Following the expedition, Lieutenant Colonel Miley authored a book, In Cuba with Shafter. He died in Manila, Philippines in 1899. In 1900, the military reservation on Point Lobos in San Francisco was renamed Fort Miley in his honor.

Scope and Contents:

The papers of Lieutenant Colonel John D. Miley are comprised of materials that provide a glimpse into the logistical operations of Major General William Shafter's expedition into Cuba in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. Included in the collection are the orders of battle by Rear Admiral William T. Sampson and the daily Squadron Bulletin of activities, casualties and accomplishments of the invading forces published from the U.S. flagship New York. Also included are communications between Officers and Command, Quartermaster summaries and listing of items used and troop movements made during the expedition. Mentioned in the Squadron Bulletin are Teddy Roosevelt's "Rough Riders". The terms of capitulation are also included.

Among Lieutenant Miley's duties was the coordination of information exchanged with war correspondents. To this end, he maintained a list of correspondents with permission to accompany the troops as well as a list of foreign military observers allowed to view field operations.

The collection also contains the discharge paper for George M. Dunn, signed by Theodore Roosevelt in two places.

Folder Contents
1-14 Personal letters to Lieutenant Miley, April 1898-September 1899
15 Personal letters to Lieutenant Miley, undated
16 Letters and invoice regarding purchase of saber
17-18 Telegrams regarding war correspondents staying in Tampa Bay Hotel
19-21 Letters written in Spanish, May 1897-July 1898
22 Communications from Major General Kent to Adjutant General,
July 1-11, 1898
23 Letter to Adjutant General from Brigade General regarding confiscated prisoner's arms
24-28 Official letters and telegrams to Major General Shafter, May-June, 1898
29 Copies of telegrams to Major General Shafter from Adjutant General Corbin, July 3-15, 1898
30 Communications from General Garcia to Major General Shafter, July 1898
31 Letters of recommendation regarding promotion of Lieutenant Miley,
July-August, 1898
32-33 Correspondence to Major General Shafter regarding foreign military observers, June 1898
34 Letter to Commissioner Dahlgreen (naval attaché from Norway and Sweden) from J.D. Long, May 31, 1898
35 Letters and telegrams to Major General Shafter, regarding war correspondents, May-June, 1898
36 Letter to Major General Shafter from Brigade General C.F. Humphrey
37 Lieutenant Miley, Orders of Transfer, May 1898
38 Assistant Adjutant General Micheer - Orders to expedite process, June 6, 1898
39 Orders from Secretary Alger to investigate allegation of discrimination against Lieutenant Miley by war correspondent
40-41 Orders to commanding officers regarding foreign military observers
42 Listing of foreign officers with permission to observe field operations
43-44 Orders to Major General Shafter regarding war correspondents
45-46 Orders to commanding officers regarding war correspondents
47 List of newspaper representatives
48 Orders from Lieutenant Miley regarding regulations for war correspondents
49 North Atlantic Station - Order of battle from Admiral William T. Sampson
50 Expedition to Santiago de Cuba under the command of Major General William R. Shafter, USV
51 Transports, embarkation, landing, etc. of expeditionary forces
52 Quartermaster's report in connection to expedition to Cuba by Brigade General C.F. Humphrey, October 1898
53-54 Quartermaster's Reports
55-56 Financial accountings
57 Notes on conference between General Shafter and General Garcia at Asserradero on June 20th
58 Squadron Bulletin, June 20-July 3, 1898 with reference to "Rough Riders"
59 New York Journal, Hearst; Siboney, Cuba: Vol. 1, July 10, 1898
60 Dictation by Major Webb, January 16, 1899
61 Note on message from Admiral Sampson
62 Copy of terms of capitulation of Spanish forces (English and Spanish)
63 Narrative on Malolos, Filipino insurgent capital
64 Discharge paper for George M. Dunn, signed by T. Roosevelt - Original in SC22110, Box 53; photocopy of original in folder
65 Autograph Letters, Manuscripts, Documents; Carnegie Book Shop, N.Y.; Catalogue #310
66 Master Carpet Diploma, Free and Accepted Masons granted to J.D. Miley, Map of Cuba (linen) – Missing (6/04)
Last Updated: February 18, 2022