Helena in Phillips County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
Fort Curtis, 1862-1867
The Battle of Helena
Fort Curtis signaled the beginning of the Battle of Helena and was the last line of defense for the Union army. In the predawn hours of Independence Day, a single gun at Fort Curtis fired-the signal for soldiers to take their battle stations. The 33rd Missouri Infantry who had been trained to operate artillery, manned the guns. After taking Battery C, the Confederates attacked Fort Curtis but they could not take it.
The End of Fort Curtis
The Civil War ended in April 1865. A few months later, the army removed the huge guns from Fort Curtis and shipped them out of Arkansas. The last inspection in 1866 found the fort in good repair, but its usefulness had past. When the Union army left Helena in 1867, it was abandoned. The fort was eventually leveled; its walls used as fill perhaps. The First Baptist Church three blocks north of here now stands near where Fort Curtis once stood.
Top right: The United States flag in the background stands in the middle
Middle left: General Samuel Curtis, the first Union commander of Helena, for whom Fort Curtis was named.
Right bottom: This picture of the interior of Fort Curtis is the only photograph of the fort known to exist.
Erected 2013 by Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.
Location. 34° 31.55′ N, 90° 35.507′ 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. The New Fort Curtis (here, next to this marker); Who Built Fort Curtis (here, next to this marker); Defending Helena (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.
Also see . . . Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture - Fort Curtis. (Submitted on September 6, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Categories. • Forts, Castles • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on July 26, 2018. This page originally submitted on September 6, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 91 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 6, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. 5, 6. submitted on October 21, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.