John Smith Phelps was a prominent U.S. congressman before and during the war, who also served as colonel of the "Phelps Regiment, Missouri Infantry," and led that regiment into action at the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, March 7-8, 1862. He later served as military governor of Arkansas, and after the war was elected governor of Missouri.
Mary Whitney Phelps, his wife, safeguarded the body of Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon after his death at the Battle of Wilson's Creek, August 10, 1861, and helped care for the wounded of her husband's regiment after the Battle of Pea Ridge. Following the war, she established an orphanage in Springfield for the children of Union soldiers.
John Elisha Phelps, their son, fought in the Battles of Wilson's Creek and Pea Ridge, and was appointed colonel of the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry (US). He led that unit into action on several battlefields, including Westport and Mine Creek. He was made a brevet brigadier general at the end of the war for his services.