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Phelps, Edward Elisha


Age: 58, credited to Windsor, VT
Unit(s): 1st VT BGD, USV
Service: SURG. Member, State Board of Medical Examiners, then 1st Vermont Brigade SURG USV, later in charge of Brattleboro hospital.[College: NU 23]

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: 04/14/1803, Windsor, VT
Death: 11/26/1880

Burial: Ascutney Cemetery, Windsor, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone photographer: Joie Finley Morris +
Findagrave Memorial #: 114099976


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Not found
Portrait?: Unknown
College?: NU 23
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: None


2nd Great Grandfather of David Howe Leavitt, Rochester, NY

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Ascutney Cemetery, Windsor, VT

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.

Edward E. Phelps

Vermonters held important positions on the medical staff of the army. Early in the war a State Board of Medical Examiners was appointed to examine candidates for appointment as surgeons and assistant surgeons of Vermont regiments. It consisted of three eminent physicians, Dr. S. W. Thayer, Jr., of Burlington, Dr. Edward E. Phelps of Windsor, and Dr. Charles L. Allen of Rutland. In February, 1862, Dr. Phelps was commissioned by the Secretary of War as brigade surgeon of volunteers, and was succeeded on the board of examiners by Dr. Hiram F. Stevens. This board practically determined all the appointments and promotions of the surgeons and assistant surgeons of the Vermont regiments, and secured for the troops superior medical care. In December, 1861, Dr. Phelps was sent by the governor to Camp Griffin, to investigate the causes of the sickness prevailing in the First Vermont brigade. In February, 1862, he was appointed brigade surgeon of that brigade. At a later date he was placed in charge of the general hospital at Brattleboro, at which over 4,000 sick and wounded soldiers were received during the war. Thousands of the Vermont troops were inspected by Dr. Phelps for admission to the service, and his services throughout the war were of the highest importance and value. (Benedict, vol. ii p. 784)
The thing which chiefly gave the brigade distinction during the fall of 1861, was the extraordinary amount of sickness which prevailed in the regiments. This began to be remarkable in November, and soon attracted anxious attention in Vermont, and wide notice throughout the army. On the 12th of December, Dr. Edward E. Phelps, one of the foremost physicians in Vermont, who had been sent by the governor to investigate the subject on the ground, reported that of the men of the five regiments, numbering 4,939 on the ground, no less than 1,086, or about one-fourth, were excused from duty in consequence of sickness. Of these, 221 were sick in hospital, 245 sick in their tents, and 550 able to be up and about though unfit for duty. The prevailing diseases were remittent and intermittent fevers, typhoid pneumonia, and diarrhoea. The only cause Dr. Phelps could assign for this condition of things, was that the regiments had been too long stationary in their camps, on soil which had become saturated with noxious elements. But why these conditions affected the Vermonters, above all others similarly situated, was not explained. (Benedict, vol. i, pp. 237-8)

Additional biography:

A Cyclopedia of American Medical Biography, p. 269.
The Physicians and Surgeons of the United States, p. 527


Edward E. Phelps, M. D., LL. D., who has practiced medicine in Windsor for over 50 years, died Friday morning, aged 77 years. Dr. Phelps graduated at Yale College in the class with N. P. Willis, and at Dartmouth Medical Department, of which institution he was chosen Professor of Medical Jurisprudence and Pathological Anatomy, which office he held for over thirty years. For two years (1835-37) he was Professor of Anatomy and Surgery in the Medical Department of the U. V. M., and received the honorary degree of A. M., in 1835 from the University. He was Brigade Surgeon in the war of the rebellion the four years. He was a physician of wide and extended practice. He leaves a wife and one daughter.

Source: Burlington Free Press, November 29, 1880.
Courtesy of Tom Boudreau.