Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of only a few all-Confederate cemeteries.
In 1862, there were thousands of Confederate soldiers from Texas and Arkansas gathered near the settlement of Austin (Lonoke Co.) They were camped near what was then called Camp Hope. During the Fall of 1862, the camp was stricken by the measles, typhoid and a variety of other diseases that proved fatal to as many as 1,500 soldiers. These soldiers were buried throughout the countryside surrounding the camp. After the death of Brigadier General Allison Nelson in October 1862, Camp Hope was renamed Camp Nelson. By the end of 1862, the camp had been abandoned and was forgotten. Many years later, a group of local Confederate veterans initiated actions to establish a formal burial ground for the war dead. Veteran James Gately sold a small tract of land to the group. Through their diligence and determination, funds were found and eventually local crews were hired to scour the countryside looking for graves. Once located, the grave was opened, and the remains were placed in a box or barrel. They were then taken to the Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery and re-interred. Even though 428 individual headstones were placed in four equal sections, physical evidence uncovered in 1980 indicates that the dead were buried in a single trench upon being re-interred in 1905. Three flags, Texas, Arkansas and Confederate States of America, fly over the twelve foot tall monument which was placed in the center of the cemetery honoring all the soldiers.
Today, the Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery, the only all-Confederate cemetery in Arkansas, sits in a clearing in the woods off Cherry Road. During holiday periods, three flagstaffs carry the flags of Arkansas, Texas and the Confederacy. Beneath the flags, a 12-foot obelisk stands guard over rows of marble gravestones, each inscribed with the Confederate Cross of Honor and the words "Unknown Soldier CSA." The stark white stones, some darkened with age, their tops gabled so "no damn Yankee can sit on 'em," mark the graves of 428 unsung, but not forgotten, heroes of the Confederacy.
Contact Information: Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery, P. O. Box 431, Lonoke, AR 72086. Tele: (501) 676-6403.
Directions: Located approximately four miles southeast of Cabot, AR on Rye Drive, just off Cherry Road, just off Mt. Carmel Road in northern Lonoke Co., AR.
1. Mike Polston, Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.
2. The Civil War in Arkansas- (www.civilwarbuff.org)
3. National Register of Historic Places - www.nr.nps.gov/.
4. Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery, Additional Soldiers, compiled by Edward G. Gerdes.
GPS Coordinates: 34.94605, -91.98047
- Added: 2 Jan 2000
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #53316
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