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

The 33rd Missouri Spikes the Guns

 
 
The 33rd Missouri Spikes the Guns Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
1. The 33rd Missouri Spikes the Guns Marker
Inscription. During the Battle of Helena on July 4, 1863, less than 300 men with two cannon held this battery for several hours against 3,000 Confederates.

Infantry Mans the Guns
The 33rd Missouri Infantry (U.S.) defended Battery C. The regiment had cross-trained as gunners, an unusual practice, and manned the guns at all of Helena's defensive works. Here, two companies served as artillerists and sharpshooters. After the battle began, two companies of the 33rd Iowa Infantry arrived, completing the small command. They repelled two assaults before falling to the Confederates.

Rendering the Guns Useless
Civil War cannon were simple weapons. To fire, the gunner put a friction primer into the hole on the top of the barrel, called the vent. At the signal, he pulled a rope attached to the friction primer, creating a spark. The spark ignited the powder and fired the gun. The Confederates planned to turn Battery C's guns on the Union forces, but the 33rd Missouri foiled their plans. Before retreating they spiked the guns-hammering files into the vents and breaking them off. They also took the friction primers.

The 33rd Suffers Heavy Losses
After leaving Helena, the 33rd Missouri participated in the Red River Campaign,
Marker and replica cannon. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
2. Marker and replica cannon.
Price's Missouri campaign, and the Battle of Nashville. But nowhere were they as hotly engaged as here. During the war, the regiment lost four officers and fifty-two enlisted men killed and mortally wounded. It suffered thirty of those casualties at the Battle of Helena.

[Comment inset]
The Guns at Battery C
Orderly Sergeant Henry S. Carroll, 33rd Missouri, gave us the only clue about the guns here, writing that the regiment's two companies "were protected by some earthworks in which were planted two brass field pieces." This is a reproduction non-firing six-pounder field piece.

[Photo captions]
Middle: An unidentified member of the 33rd Missouri Infantry (U.S.)
Bottom right: Battery C would have looked much like the battery above, though it only had two guns.

 
Location. 34° 31.569′ N, 90° 35.816′ W. Marker is in Helena, Arkansas, in Phillips County. Marker can be reached from Yorkshire Drive 0.1 miles east of Audubon Drive when traveling east. Touch for map. 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 of this marker. Battery C Revealed (a few steps from this marker); A Cemetery Becomes a Battleground (a
Map of the Battle of Helena. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, 1863
3. Map of the Battle of Helena.
few steps from this marker); A Short Lived Confederate Victory (a few steps from this marker); The Avenging Fire of the Gunboat (within shouting distance of this marker); Their Guns Pounded Graveyard Hill (within shouting distance of this marker); "We are well fortified" (within shouting distance of this marker); Coming to the Aid of Fort Curtis (within shouting distance of this marker); Battle of Helena (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Helena.
 
Also see . . .  Wikipedia article on the 33rd Missouri Infantry. (Submitted on September 4, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
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 55 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 4, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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