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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Helena in Phillips County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
 

A Cemetery Becomes a Battleground

 
 
A Cemetery Becomes a Battleground Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
1. A Cemetery Becomes a Battleground Marker
Inscription. Imagine this area covered in trees. Where you stand is a quiet cemetery. It is the first burial ground for the city of Helena and the resting place of some of the city's earliest residents.

Engineers and Battle Begin the Destruction
The peace of this place was shattered in the spring of 1863. Union army engineers decided that Graveyard Hill, as they called it, was the perfect location for one of the four batteries they planned to construct on Crowley's Ridge. Soon, the thud of axes and scrape of saws filled the air as soldiers felled trees to provide clear lines of fire. They dug a ditch and mounded the earth over graves to form the battery's walls. More destruction took place during the Battle of Helena. The rush of troops dislodged stones and the intense artillery fire directed at Battery C leveled monuments and cratered the ground.

Nature Continues what War Began
After the war, natural forces continued the destruction. No longer anchored by tree roots and vegetation, the soil eroded away, exposing graves. The cemetery, no longer used or maintained, deteriorated. Relatives moved the remains of loved ones elsewhere, many to the new cemetery north of town, now Maple Hill Cemetery. The remains of those with no one to care for them were
Marker at Battery C is on the right in foreground. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
2. Marker at Battery C is on the right in foreground.
left to their fate. At one time, it was not uncommon to see headstones and bones washing out of the hillside into the deep gullies that scored the sides of Graveyard Hill.

This hilltop was leveled in the 1970s, removing any vestige of the former burial site. Archaeological investigations of Battery C conducted in 2011 and 2013 found no trace of the old city cemetery.
 
Location. 34° 31.565′ N, 90° 35.809′ W. Marker is in Helena, Arkansas, in Phillips County. Marker can be reached from Yorkshire Drive 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. A Short Lived Confederate Victory (a few steps from this marker); Battery C Revealed (a few steps from this marker); The 33rd Missouri Spikes the Guns (a few steps from this marker); The Avenging Fire of the Gunboat (a few steps from this marker); "We are well fortified" (a few steps from this marker); Their Guns Pounded Graveyard Hill (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.
 
Categories. Churches, Etc.War, US Civil
 
A Cemetery Becomes a Battleground Marker is on far right, part of Battery C. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
3. A Cemetery Becomes a Battleground Marker is on far right, part of Battery C.
 
 
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 67 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 4, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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