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Helena in Phillips County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
 

“We are all the same as dead men”

 
 
"We are all the same as dead men" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, January 17, 2012
1. "We are all the same as dead men" Marker
Inscription. Conditions in Civil War Helena were horrible. Overcrowding, poor sanitation, contaminated drinking water, and mosquitoes led to typhoid, dysentery, malaria and other diseases. Tents, churches, barns, abandoned houses and business buildings housed thousands of sick soldiers.

Sick Men, Grim Hospitals
Annie Wittenmeyer visited Helena in August 1863. She came with the Western Sanitary commission, an organization much like today's Red Cross. Her report on the military hospitals were grim.

"We found the hospitals at Helena, if they may be called hospitals, in a dreadful condition. The Methodist and Baptist Churches were crowded with very sick and severely wounded men. There were very few cots in these two churches. Most of the men were lying in the narrow pews, with the scant uneven cushions for their beds. The weather was extremely hot, and flies swarmed over everybody and everything. "

Feeling of Hopelessness
Sanitary Commission aids visited a convalescent camp located on the sandy banks of the Mississippi River. The August sun beat down, turning the tents into furnaces. Behind the tents was a wide cypress swamp, "stagnant and green and deadly."

Aid workers brought healthy food, clean clothing and blankets to the camp but the discouraged men told them their efforts were useless.
"We are all the same as dead men" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, January 17, 2012
2. "We are all the same as dead men" Marker
Marker is located beside this church and you can see the Phillips County Courthouse in background. Temple Beth El is in the process of being restored and given to city of Helena.
"it is only question of time," one said, "your efforts will only prolong our suffering; we are all the same as dead men."

"The faces of some of the men, who were too helpless to keep up a continual fight with them, were black with swarms of hungry buzzing flies." Annie Wittenmeyer, August 1863
 
Erected by Civil War Helena with support from Delta Cultural Center -Department of Arkansas Heritage, Helena-West Helena.
 
Location. 34° 31.757′ N, 90° 35.281′ W. Marker is in Helena, Arkansas, in Phillips County. Marker is on Perry Street near Pecan Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Helena AR 72342, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Civil War Comes to Arkansas (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); West Helena, Arkansas (about 500 feet away); The Right to Vote (about 500 feet away); Phillips County, Arkansas (about 500 feet away); Helena, Arkansas (about 500 feet away); World War I 1917-1918 (about 600 feet away); Phillips County Court House (about 600 feet away); Fort Curtis (about 800 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Helena.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
"We are all the same as dead men" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, January 17, 2012
3. "We are all the same as dead men" Marker
The Baptist Church as it looked about 1900. The church was located on the lot immediately to the east. Also pictured: a Civil War-era medicine bottle, medicine kit, and doctor's bag. Some medicines did more harm than good. Doctors gave patients opium, mercury, turpentine, tannic acid and other harmful substances to treat diseases. Postcards of Baptist Church courtesy Phillips County Museum, Helena Arkansas Civil War-era medical artifacts courtesy Mudpuppy & Waterdog, Inc. Versailles, Kentucky
"We are all the same as dead men" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, January 17, 2012
4. "We are all the same as dead men" Marker
Annie Wittenmeyer
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 623 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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