Thursday, March 11, 2010

James W. Nelson, Inmate

Of those Southerners who came home at the end of America’s Civil War, twenty per cent were visibly wounded or crippled or disfigured or disabled in some manner that would impair them for the rest of their lives.

Corporal James W. Nelson of Adair County was the final battle casualty of Company F, Fourth Kentucky Infantry. He was wounded on April 29, 1865, near Stateburg, South Carolina, three weeks after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

Nelson entered the Kentucky Confederate Home in 1903, shortly after it opened. On a visit home in May 1904, Nelson told the publisher of the Adair County News that “he was well pleased with the Home, that it is under the best management, and the old veterans of the Lost Cause could not be better treated.”

Nelson’s old war wound was causing him problems, however, with intermittent infection and bleeding. A visitor to the Home in May 1905 wrote that the veteran was in better health, his leg healed, and that Nelson would soon be able “to go on crutches.”

The leg wasn’t healed, however, and in November the Adair County News reported that the old corporal “recently had one of his legs amputated. The stump is healing rapidly and Mr. Nelson thinks he will be well enough to take to his crutches in three weeks.”

(See Adair County News: May 25, 1904; May 25, 1905; and September 20, 1905.)

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