|Birth: ||Apr. 25, 1922|
|Death: ||Jul. 8, 1942|
National Capital Region, Philippines
THE ADJUTANT GENERAL'S OFFICE
WASHINGTON 25, D.C.
AGPC-O 201 Nelson, Jessie J. 27 July 1945
Mrs. W.J. Baggett
It is with profound regret that I confirm the recent telegram informing you of the death of your brother, Private First Class Jessie J. Nelson, 17,014,244, Infantry, who was previously reported missing in action in the Philippine Islands from the date of the surrender of Corregidor, 7 May 1942.
An official message has now been received which states that he died on 8 July 1942 in a Prisoner of War camp in the Philippine Islands as a result of malaria, dysentery and malnutrition.
I realize the great suspense you have endured during this unfortunately long period and now, the finality to those hopes which you have cherished for his safety. Although little may be said or done at this time to alleviate your grief, it is my fervent hope that later the knowledge that he gave his life for his country may be sustaining comfort to you.
I extend my profound sympathy in your bereavement.
EDWARD F. WITSELL
Acting The Adjutant General of the Army
The Bataan Death March was a 70-mile forced march of American and Filipino prisoners of war by Japanese forces during World War II.
Approximately 72,000 American and Filipino soldiers were forced to surrender to Japan's Imperial Army after their defeat in the grinding, three-month-long Battle of Bataan (January 7 - April 9, 1942). The Allied soldiers had not been resupplied for a couple of months, and many were sick and malnourished.
Despite the poor condition of the prisoners, the Japanese command calculated that it would take them only 3 days to march 70 miles through the jungle. Local officers took this order to heart, driving the wounded, ill, and emaciated prisoners relentless through the tropical heat.
The prisoners also were routinely denied food and water.
Anyone who fell behind, complained, had a souvenir taken from a fallen Japanese soldier, or even looked at one of the Japanese wrong was bayoneted or shot. Some prisoners were shot for stopping to fill their canteens at a road-side ditch.
Rifle-butt beatings were common, for offenses such as helping a faltering comrade. Many prisoners were bayoneted for no apparent reason, or for fun. Filipino civilians along the path who offered food or water to the prisoners were also summarily killed by the Japanese.
In total, some 18,000 - 20,000 of the POWs died on the Bataan Death March, which ended up taking one week. Some simply collapsed and died of illness or starvation, but most were murdered. A large but unknown number of the POWs died shortly thereafter in the internment camps as well, from the after-effects of their forced march.
In 1945, the Japanese commander in charge of Bataan, General Homma, was put on trial for atrocities including the Bataan Death March. He stated that he had been unaware of the high death toll from the march until some time later. Nonetheless, he was convicted. General Homma was executed in the Philippines on April 3, 1946.
Jessie J. Nelson
Private First Class, U.S. Army
Service # 17014244
31st Infantry Regiment
Buried at: Plot N Row 9 Grave 62
Charles Henry Nelson (1878 - 1942)
Eva Ann Capehart Nelson (1883 - 1932)
Mary Ruth Edwards Bennett (1907 - 1930)**
Fred Lee Nelson (1914 - 1946)*
Myrtle Mae Nelson Baggett (1917 - 1989)*
Leroy Jackson Nelson (1920 - 1974)*
Jessie J Nelson (1922 - 1942)
Francis Joseph Nelson (1923 - 1980)*
Charles Columbus Nelson (1936 - 2012)**
Note: Entered the service from Arkansas. World War II and Korean Conflict Veterans Interred Overseas.
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
National Capital Region, Philippines
Plot: N Row 9 Grave 62
Maintained by: DebraAnnNelsonInman
Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
Record added: Aug 08, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 56776956