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Old Rondo Cemetery—Confederate Section, located at 1612 Smith Road in Rondo (Miller County), commemorates Confederate soldiers from Texas who died of disease in Rondo in 1862. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 22, 2004.
On June 12, 1862, Brigadier General Henry Eustace McCulloch ordered all Confederate troops located east of Tyler, Texas, to march to Little Rock (Pulaski County), which was threatened by Samuel Curtis’s Union army. These troops included the Nineteenth Texas Infantry Regiment under Colonel Richard Waterhouse. At least seven companies of the Nineteenth were stationed at Rondo, just past the Arkansas-Texas state line, from July through early September.
While the men were camped at Rondo, measles struck, killing dozens of Waterhouse’s soldiers. After the war, the remains of eighty-five Confederate soldiers who died in the measles epidemic were disinterred from their original burial site and reburied side by side in a common grave in the Old Rondo Cemetery. The remainder of the unfortunate Nineteenth Texas was later transferred to Camp Nelson near Cabot (Lonoke County), where still more men died of measles.
The Albert Pike Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was organized in Texarkana (Miller County) in 1931 and immediately began efforts to recognize the unknown soldiers in the Old Rondo Cemetery. Working with Congresswoman Effiegene Wingo, a granddaughter of Confederate soldiers, the group sought to acquire the plot in which the Confederates were buried, as well as place marble markers for the gravesite. There were seventeen markers placed, one for every five of the unknown soldiers.
The Old Rondo Cemetery—Confederate Section was sold for $1 to the Albert Pike Chapter on December 7, 1934. The first Rondo dedication ceremony was conducted in 1934. In 1962, the Albert Pike Chapter placed a sandstone and marble marker in the center of the Confederate Section in honor of the eighty-five men buried there. The chapter also holds a memorial service at the cemetery every May.
For additional information:Blessington, Joseph P. The Campaigns of Walker’s Texas Division: Containing a Complete Record of the Campaigns in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. New York: Lange, Little, 1875.
“Confederate Section—Old Rondo Cemetery.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/MI0139.nr.pdf (accessed July 18, 2016).
Field, Iola Edwards. Rondo Pioneer Frontier Community of Miller County, Arkansas, 1835–1958. Rondo, AR: Rondo Cemetery Association, 1958.
Logan, Charles Russell. “Something So Dim It Must Be Holy: Civil War Commemorative Sculpture in Arkansas, 1886–1834.” Little Rock: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 1997. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/News-and-Events/publications (accessed July 18, 2016).
Mark Christ Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
Last Updated 7/22/2016
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