John Elisha Phelps
|Birthplace:||Springfield, Greene, MO, USA|
|Place of Burial:||Hazelwood Cemetery Springfield Greene County Missouri|
|Managed by:||Private User|
About Brevet Brig. General John Elisha Phelps (USA)
Union Brevet Brigadier General, Colonel, US Army. Born in Springfield, Missouri, the son of John Smith Phelps, he received a local education, and later was a wholesale grocer and cattle trader. He started his military service in the spring of 1861 as a secret agent of General Nathaniel Lyon. On February 17, 1862, by order of General S.R. Curtis, he was detailed as acting volunteer aid upon the staff of Brigadier General Eugene A. Carr. In the Battle of Pea Ridge, his dauntless courage impressed many. Near the end of the battle he was wounded in the leg and was forced to return home to heal. On June 11, 1862, he was appointed First Lieutenant in the 3rd US Cavalry and assigned to duty as aide-de-camp on the staff of General Carr. Up to this time he had served without commission or pay from the government.
He served in this position until June 1863. Tired and suffering from malaria he was ordered back home to Missouri in order to save his life. He made a personal appeal to General US Grant to let him remain to witness the surrender, however Grant concurred with the doctors and he was sent home. While on sick leave he organized the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry and was made its Colonel on March 18, 1864. The cavalry seen gallant action at Jefferson City, Boonville, Independence, Big Blue, Osage and Newtonia. By order of the War Department the names of these six battles were placed on the colors of the regiment. In camp at Springfield, Missouri, they were ordered to Memphis, Tennessee. Leaving on December 14, 1864, they arrived at Memphis on January 25, 1865. On March 13, he received a brevet to Brigadier General for his gallant and meritorious services in the fall campaign of 1864 in southwest Missouri. He and the regiment were mustered out at La Grange, Tennessee, on August 20, 1865. On September 28, 1865, he resigned from the Regular Army due to sickness from the effects of his previous malaria. He then traveled for a bit to help regain his health.
Later he turned to farming and was also a miner. Having been a success, he lost his fortune in a depression in 1899 and found work in a sawmill in Tacoma, Washington. Not long after he began working there he nearly had his arm torn off in an accident. Down on his luck, he asked the state to send him to the Soldiers' Home. After some time there, he was able to restore his health and later traveled again to California, where he died in Pasadena.