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

Defending Helena

 
 
Defending Helena Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
1. Defending Helena Marker
Inscription. Shortly after the capture of Helena in July 1862, the Union army took measures to protect the city. Engineers designed a large earthen fort, which African American laborers completed in October 1862. General Benjamin Prentiss named the heavily armed fort for the city's first Union commander, General Samuel Curtis.

Construction Begins
Within weeks of the Union army's arrival in Helena, engineers began work on a large redoubt, an enclosed earthwork. They sited the earthen fort on high ground at the end of a ridge. In 1862, the fort stood three blocks north of here, just west of the city.

Fort Curtis's Formidable Guns
Engineers designed the impressive fort to protect Helena from attack. Huge guns brought by Mississippi River steamboats bristled from the ramparts. The army hoped that the formidable weapons would cause the Confederates to think twice before attacking.

Six 24-pounders and one 32-pounder cannon armed Fort Curtis. The 32-pounder gun alone weighed 7,200 pounds and could fire a projectile over a mile.

[Photo captions]
Top right:The guns in Fort Curtis, like the guns in Fort Stevens above, fired over the wall of the fort rather than through openings cut into the wall.
Middle right:
Defending Helena Marker is the first one on far left. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
2. Defending Helena Marker is the first one on far left.
The guns at Fort Curtis looked like these seen here, in seacoast mounts on the rampart of Fort Totten near Washington, DC.
Bottom right: Seven Union officers stand next to a 32-pounder cannon in a fort that protected Washington, DC.

 
Erected 2013 by Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.
 
Location. 34° 31.549′ N, 90° 35.508′ W. Marker is in Helena, Arkansas, in Phillips County. Marker is on York Street east of Beech Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Located near entrance to Fort Curtis. Marker is at or near this postal address: 701 York Street, Helena AR 72342, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Who Built Fort Curtis (here, next to this marker); Fort Curtis, 1862-1867 (here, next to this marker); The New Fort Curtis (here, next to this marker); U.S.C.T. in Helena (within shouting distance of this marker); Flags over Fort Curtis (within shouting distance of this marker); Life Under Union Occupation (within shouting distance of this marker); The Guns (within shouting distance of this marker); The Battle of Helena (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Helena.
 
More about this marker. An Arkansas
Reverse side of all four markers. Entrance gate to Fort Curtis is in background. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
3. Reverse side of all four markers. Entrance gate to Fort Curtis is in background.
Civil War Sesquicentennial site and a part of the Arkansas Civil War Discovery Trail.
 
Categories. African AmericansForts, CastlesWar, US Civil
 
East side of rebuilt Fort Curtis (3 blocks south of original location). image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
4. East side of rebuilt Fort Curtis (3 blocks south of original location).
One of the the 24-pounders at the rebuilt Fort Curtis. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
5. One of the the 24-pounders at the rebuilt Fort Curtis.
Showing the gun could be fired over the wall of the fort rather than through openings cut into the wall.
About the guns of Fort Curtis. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
6. About the guns of Fort Curtis.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 6, 2017. This page originally submitted on September 6, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 61 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 6, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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