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Civil War Soldiers - Phelps

Phelps, John S., brigadier-general, U.S. Army, was born in Simsbury, Conn., Dec. 22, 1814. He was graduated at Trinity college, in 1832, practiced law in Cincinnati until 1837, and then moved to Springfield, Mo., and was a member of the Missouri legislature in 1840 and brigade inspector of militia in 1841. He was a Democratic representative in Congress from 1845 to 1861, being chairman of the ways and means committee in the 35th Congress and one of the select committee of thirty-three on the seceding states in the 36th Congress. He declined reelection to the 37th Congress, and on Oct. 2, 1861, became lieutenant-colonel of Phelps' regiment of Mo. infantry, becoming colonel of the regiment on Dec. 19. He was appointed brigadier-general of volunteers, July 19, 1862, and was military governor of Arkansas, 1862-63. He was a delegate to the National Union convention at Philadelphia in 1866; commissioner to settle the claims of Indiana, 1867 ; unsuccessful Democratic candidate for governor of Missouri, 1868, and governor of the state, 1876-82. He died in St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 20, 1886.

Source: The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States 1861-1865, Volume 8 Biographical, 1908

Phelps, John W., brigadier-general, U.S. Army, was born in Guilford, Vt., Nov. 13, 1813. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1836 and served in the Florida war, 1836-39, on the Canadian frontier during the border disturbances, then at various forts, and in the Mexican war. In the latter conflict he took part in the battles of Vera Cruz, Contreras and Churubusco, and was brevetted captain for gallantry but declined, and in 1850 was promoted to the full rank of captain. He resigned from the service, Nov. 2, 1859, and took up his residence in Brattleboro, Vt., where he wrote many articles against the aggression of the slave power. When the Civil war broke out he became colonel of the 1st Vt. infantry, May 9, 1861, and on May 17 he was commissioned brigadier- general of volunteers. He took possession of and held Newport News for the defense of Hampton Roads, from May to November, being engaged in several skirmishes, and was then transferred to the Department of the Gulf, where he took possesison of Ship island, Miss., and with Commodore Farragut's fleet forced the opening of the lower Mississippi in April and May, 1862. While in garrison in Camp Parapet, La., in 1862, he organized the first negro troops, but was ordered by the government commander to cease such organization, and on that account he resigned, Aug. 21, 1862. For his action in organizing the negroes the Confederate government declared him an outlaw. When the negroes were finally armed he declined a commission as major-general of colored troops, and he spent the rest of his life in Brattleboro, Vt. He was the candidate for the presidency of the United States on the American ticket in 1880. He devoted his attention principally to literary work, and was vice-president of the Vermont Historical society, 1863-85, and of the Vermont Teachers' association, 1865-85. He died in Guilford, Vt, Feb. 2, 1885.

Source: The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States 1861-1865, Volume 8 Biographical, 1908

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