Helena in Phillips County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
Holding the Little Rock Road
Soon after the Union army occupied Helena in July 1862, preparations began for a Confederate attack. The army built four earthworks on Crowley's Ridge. Fort Curtis sat below the ridge, in town. Barricades protected the roads coming into town from the north and south. The Lower Little Rock Road, now Biscoe Street, entered Helena from the south. To protect this end of town, the army constructed an earthwork near where you now stand. A small section of that earthwork is represented here.
A Strategic Position
The original earthwork began at the levee next to the Mississippi River and ran west to the Lower Little Rock Road. The earthwork straddled the road and stretched almost to the foot of Crowley's Ridge, ending below Battery D. The land was flat and low, similar to what it is today. A swamp in front of the earthwork helped protect the position from an infantry assault.
Minos Miller, an officer with the 2nd Arkansas of African Descent, described the defenses: "[T]here is a breastwork thrown up across the bottoms and about twenty yards in front of the breastwork is cavalry pits."
This was the end of the line. Had the Confederates pushed through here when they attacked Helena on July 4, 1863, they
The 2nd Arkansas of African Descent, 35th Missouri Infantry, and the 1st Missouri Battery defended this earthwork during the Battle of Helena on July 4, 1863.
Erected 2013 by Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.
Location. 34° 30.787′ N, 90° 35.57′ W. Marker is in Helena, Arkansas, in Phillips County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Biscoe Street (Business U.S. 49) and Little Rock Road. Touch for map. Located within Freedom Park. 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. African American Troops Held This Ground (a few steps from this marker); Becoming Soldiers (within shouting distance of this marker); Freedom in Helena! (within shouting distance of this marker); The Hard Road to Equal Rights (within shouting distance of this marker); Helena's Contraband Camps (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Seizing Freedom (about 400 feet away); General J.F. Fagan's Attack (approx. half a mile away); Battery D (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Helena.
More about this marker.
Freedom Park is the first site in Arkansas to be designated for inclusion on the National Park Service's National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program and is part of Arkansas Civil War Discovery Trail.
Categories. • African Americans • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on September 3, 2017. This page originally submitted on September 3, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 80 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on September 3, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.