Sgt. Miles James Historical Highway Marker to be Dedicated Nov. 9

Monday, October 28, 2019

​The Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission will dedicate a state highway marker to document the service and valor of Sgt. Miles James on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 11 a.m. The marker will be placed about 100 yards to the west of the intersection at Princess Anne and North Landing Roads at the Municipal Center. The marker dedication ceremony will be held in Building 19, Training Rooms A & B, 2416 Courthouse Drive. A reception will follow.

Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer will speak at the event. He will be joined by J. Michael Moore, curator of Lee Hall and Endview Plantation, on the program. The state will be represented by Dr. Colita Fairfax, chair of the Virginia Board of Historic Resources. The public is invited to attend.

Miles James was born into slavery in Princess Anne County circa 1829. He gained his freedom during the Civil War and enlisted in the United States Colored Troops in November 1863. He was soon promoted to Corporal in Company B of the 36th Regiment U.S. Colored Infantry. Cpl. James suffered a serious wound during the Battle of New Market Heights on Sept. 29, 1864. His wound required amputation of his left arm while still on the field of battle. James returned to the fight, loading and discharging his weapon with one arm and urging his company forward toward the Confederate works. After recovering from his wound, James was promoted to Sergeant and served until receiving his discharge in October 1865.  Sgt. James received the Butler Medal and the Congressional Medal of Honor for the heroism he displayed at New Market Heights. He settled in Norfolk and died circa 1871 from the effects of his wound. 

The text for the marker was researched and developed by local historian Jorja Jean, who received a grant award from the Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission to fund the marker. The Virginia Board of Historic Resources approved the marker application at its June 2019 quarterly meeting. Virginia's historical marker program is the oldest such program in the nation.

The Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission is a City Council-appointed body that advises Council on issues related to the City's historic resources. The group seeks to preserve, protect and maintain the historic integrity of Virginia Beach and the former Princess Anne County through a program of advocacy and increased public awareness and involvement. The commission generally meets the first Wednesday evening of the month, except July and August, at 2101 Parks Ave., Suite 500. Please visit for additional information about the Historic Preservation Commission.


Miles James was presented the Butler Medal for his heroism. He later received the Medal of Honor.

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