The Major J.B. Burton Camp, a Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) camp, of Miller County, Arkansas recently located seven graves in Miller County. The graves are those of Confederate soldiers from the 13th Texas Cavalry Regiment. The graves have been discovered and documented with the United States Veterans, and U.S. gravestones have been placed.
Frank McFerrin, the Commander of the Major J.B. Burton Camp, provided the history of the unit:
According to records, the 13th Texas Cavalry Regiment, about 900 men and their mounts, camped on the Spring Bank Hill in early July 1862. The Soldiers named the camp, “Camp Blair,” after Riley Blair, the Sergeant Major for the regiment. While there a measles epidemic hit the unit which resulted in the deaths of seven soldiers who were buried near their camp.
After the regiment moved across the Red River to the Walnut Hill area, twenty-three more soldiers died from the disease and were buried in that community.
The 13th Texas Calvary came from recruits from eleven East and Southeast Texas counties. It was initially commanded by Colonel John H. Burnett of Crockett, Texas. Most of the death casualties in the unit were from disease rather than action. The unit never crossed the Mississippi River. The unit did participate in the defense of Arkansas and Louisiana. Records indicate they fought in the battles of Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, and Jenkins Ferry. Reports also indicate they were involved in various skirmishes in the Louisiana Bayou country.
Fortunately, through the study and work of the Major J.B. Burton Camp, the gravesites are not only marked with the United States Veterans Administration, but they are also being preserved and cared for by the camp and community. The one-acre plot of land was donated to the Major J.B. Burton camp by the Hollenshead Land Corporation. The area will be dedicated and named “Camp Blair Cemetery.” Local businesses have donated grass seed and soil, along with fences and other work. The plot was legally surveyed and documented by the Red Chute Land Surveying company from Houghton, Louisiana.
The work of the Major J.B. Burton Camp has ensured the preservation of the graves for the future and the protection of an essential part of Miller County History. It is expected that local universities and colleges will study the research and history associated with the new Camp Blair Cemetery historic site.