On a recent road trip, my mom and I stopped at the Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery near Cabot, Arkansas. When Americans observe Memorial Day, we often think first of those who died in combat, but many more soldiers died of disease during the Civil War than as a result of battle. A sad example of this fact is the Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery that today is tucked into a quiet neighborhood. In the winter of 1862 and into the spring of 1863, Confederate soldiers encamped in the area fell victim to deadly diseases such as measles and pneumonia. A poor diet, exposure to harsh weather, poor sanitation, and a lack of immunity led to a nightmarish situation for these Arkansas and Texas soldiers. In fact Camp Nelson itself was named for one of those who succumbed: Colonel Allison Nelson, the commander of the 10th Texas Infantry. The exact number of soldiers who died in the area that winter is unknown, but it is estimated that at least 1,500 men passed away. Today, they lie in unmarked graves.
A modern marker:
A view of the 1905 monument at the cemetery:
A view of some of the markers for unknown soldiers:
Arkansas and Texas state flags fly at the cemetery: