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

The Avenging Fire of the Gunboat

 
 
The Avenging Fire of the Gunboat Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
1. The Avenging Fire of the Gunboat Marker
Inscription. The gunboat U.S.S. Tyler gave the Union defenders a decided advantage in the Battle of Helena. Her captain could move the gunboat and its heavy artillery where it was needed most, and that is exactly what he did.

Pritchett Exploits the Tyler's Impressive Firepower
The U.S.S. Tyler arrived in Helena on July 2, 1863. When the battle opened along the lower Little Rock Road south of Battery C two days later, the Tyler's big guns silenced the Confederate artillery firing on the Union troops east of Battery D.

As the battle raged, Lieutenant Commander James M. Pritchett moved the Tyler up and down the Mississippi, to wherever she could be most useful. When the Confederates captured Battery C, the gunboat turned her impressive firepower on the gray-clad soldiers on the ridge. When the Confederates ran down Graveyard Hill to attack Fort Curtis, Pritchett redirected the Tyler's fire.

The Tyler's Fire is Awful in its Effect
A Union naval officer recalled the gruesome result. "The slaughter of the enemy at times was terrible, and all unite in describing the horrors of that hillside, and the ravines after the battle, as baffling description, the killed literally torn to pieces by shell, and the
The line of the Mississippi River is barely discernible in background. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
2. The line of the Mississippi River is barely discernible in background.
avenging fire of the gunboat..."

When the Confederates attacking Fort Curtis fell back, the Tyler again turned her guns on Battery C. The Confederate offensive broke and the Union troops regained the battery in no small part due to the Tyler's support. The Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Wells, later presented a commendation to Lieutenant Commander Pritchett for his actions during the Battle of Helena.

[Inset quote] "The slaughter of the enemy at times was terrible, and all unite in describing the horrors of that hillside, and the ravines after the battle, as baffling description..."

[Photo caption]
Lieutenant Commander James M. Pritchett

 
Location. 34° 31.571′ N, 90° 35.798′ 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. Coming to the Aid of Fort Curtis (a few steps from this marker); Their Guns Pounded Graveyard Hill (a few steps from this marker); A Cemetery Becomes a Battleground (a few steps from this marker); The 33rd Missouri Spikes the Guns (within shouting distance of this marker); A Short Lived Confederate Victory (within shouting distance of this marker); Battery C Revealed (within shouting distance of this marker); "We are well fortified" (within shouting distance of this marker); The Confederates Take Battery C (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Helena.
 
Categories. Forts, CastlesWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels
 
 
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 62 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 4, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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