John W. Phelps Requisition

John Wolcott Phelps (1813-1885) was born in Guilford, Vermont and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1836. On May 2, 1861, Phelps was appointed Colonel of the 1st Vermont Infantry and was mustered into U.S. service on May 8. He was promoted to brigadier general on May 27, 1861.

John W. PhelpsGeneral Phelps was stationed at Camp Parapet in Carrollton, seven miles from New Orleans. Many enslaved people arrived at the camp seeking refuge. General Phelps organized the Black men of military age who arrived into companies. He then formally asked his commanding officer, General Butler, to arm the men. General Phelps thought he could organize three regiments of Black men to help defend his camp. General Butler ordered Phelps to put the Black men to work cutting down trees around the camp. Instead of furnishing guns, General Butler ordered his quartermaster to send axes and tents for the formerly enslaved people. General Phelps was unwilling to only employ Black men as laborers and offered his resignation on August 21, 1862. General Butler refused to accept it. Later that August, General Phelps returned his commission to President Abraham Lincoln.

Phelps was the candidate for the American Party/Anti-Masonic Party for president in 1880.

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