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

Battle of Helena

July 4, 1863

 
 
Battle of Helena Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
1. Battle of Helena Marker
Inscription. Confederate General Theophilus Holmes wanted to regain control of Helena, an island of Union control in Confederate Arkansas. His attack failed. Miscommunication, lack of information, and the determined resistance of the Union troops, who vowed not to be beaten on Independence Day, resulted in a decisive Union victory.

The Battle Begins
The roar of the signal gun at Fort Curtis woke Helena well before dawn—the Confederates were advancing. They faced formidable defenses. Fort Curtis's powerful guns protected the city. Four earthworks—Batteries A, B, C and D—crowned Crowley's Ridge. The gunboat U.S.S. Tyler patrolled the Mississippi River.

The Confederate Plan Unravels
Confederate General Holmes ordered his commanders to attack at daylight. General James F. Fagan and General John S. Marmaduke swung into action at first light Fagan's Arkansas Brigade scrambled up the ridge to Battery D. Felled trees, heat, and fierce Union resistance stalled their attack by midmorning. Marmaduke's artillery hit the Federal line while his men attacked Battery A, but the terrain and a dogged Union defense also halted his assault.

Union Victory
The sun was up and the assaults on Batteries A and
Battle of Helena Marker at top of Battery C overlooking Fort Curtis in distance. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
2. Battle of Helena Marker at top of Battery C overlooking Fort Curtis in distance.
D had failed before General Sterling Price attacked Battery C. The gunboat Tyler and Fort Curtis drove Price's Confederates back twice, but after three costly assaults they took Battery C. As Battery B and the U.S.S. Tyler poured shot and shell on Battery C, Confederate infantry rushed down the slope and attacked Fort Curtis. The attack was a disaster. By noon, the battle was over and the defeated Confederates were retreating.

[Photo captions]
Bottom left: The Confederate attack was hampered by rugged terrain, felled trees and heat. By noon they had gathered their wounded and were retreating back to the Alan Polk plantation.
Top right inset:
The Commanders - General Benjamin Prentiss, U.S.A. - General Theophilus Holmes, C.S.A.
 
Erected 2013 by Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.
 
Location. 34° 31.541′ N, 90° 35.809′ W. Marker is in Helena, Arkansas, in Phillips County. Marker can be reached from Yorkshire Drive 0.1 miles east of Audubon Drive (Business U.S. 49) when traveling east. Touch for map. Located at the Battery C site. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1100 Yorkshire Drive, Helena AR 72342, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance
Battle of Helena map next to this marker showing Battery C regiments. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
3. Battle of Helena map next to this marker showing Battery C regiments.
of this marker. The Confederates Take Battery C (here, next to this marker); A Terrific Fire From Graveyard Hill (a few steps from this marker); "We are well fortified" (a few steps from this marker); A Short Lived Confederate Victory (within shouting distance of this marker); Battery C Revealed (within shouting distance of this marker); A Cemetery Becomes a Battleground (within shouting distance of this marker); The 33rd Missouri Spikes the Guns (within shouting distance of this marker); The Avenging Fire of the Gunboat (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Helena.
 
More about this marker. An Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial site and a part of the Arkansas Civil War Discovery Trail.
 
Also see . . .  Wikipedia article on the Battle of Helena. (Submitted on September 4, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. Forts, CastlesWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels
 
View of Battery C site (Graveyard Hill). image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
4. View of Battery C site (Graveyard Hill).
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 4, 2017. This page originally submitted on September 4, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 63 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 4, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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