During the War Between the States medical knowledge was primitive. As a result, twice as many men died of disease than in battle from wounds. Early in the War, childhood diseases such as measles, mumps and chicken pox decimated entire camps. Later, the greatest killers were diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, malaria and pneumonia. Many of those who survived battlefield wounds and amputations later died from infection. Scarcity of medical supplies in the beleaguered South added to the suffering and high death rate. For generations maimed veterans served as reminders of the horrors of wartime medicine.
Situated away from main battlefields and with good rail and river connections, Montgomery was ideal for Confederate hospitals. Two locally operated were Soldiers' and Wayside. The government staffed six during the conflict. Citizens rendered services including food and nursing. Ladies, General, Madison and Concert Hall hospitals were on Commerce and Market streets; Stonewall and Watts, tent units, were west of town near the Alabama and Florida Railroad. After Shiloh and during the Atlanta Campaign, the hospitals were very busy, but throughout the War they tried diligently to heal wounds and diseases, often with limited supplies. These approximately seven hundred and fifty graves represent their failures. The commemorative marker was placed by the Ladies Memorial Association.