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

The Civil War Brings Hardship

 
 
The Civil War Brings Hardship Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
1. The Civil War Brings Hardship Marker
Inscription. The Civil War affected everyone, and St. Catherine Convent and Academy was no exception. The Union army appropriated convent property. Dead and dying men covered the grounds after the Battle of Helena. The school lost most of its students. When it was forced to close in 1868, one sister wrote: "We lost everything and were broken hearted when forced to leave Helena."

The Union Army Seizes Convent Property
The sisters were charged by their founder with the relief of the suffering, but they apparently drew the line at having their property seized to house some of the 2,000 fugitive slaves who followed the Union army into Helena in July 1862.

The Mother Superior voiced her objections in a terse yet polite note to the Union commander: "The Sisters of Mercy are compelled to solicit once more the kindness of Major Gen. Curtis for the preservation of their property, a portion of which is being destroyed by the Negroes, who say they have been sent to their barn by order of Gen. Curtis..." The general's reply is unknown, but one suspects that the Freedom Seekers remained.

Bringing Relief to the Wounded
After the July 1863, Battle of Helena, dead and wounded soldiers lay here on the ground all around you—the St. Catherine Academy grounds. Sister Gabriel wrote: "When we
The Civil War Brings Hardship Marker on right. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
2. The Civil War Brings Hardship Marker on right.
realized that we were doomed by the awful battle, we turned our house, out-houses and grounds into the very best emergency hospital that could be done under the circumstances. We boiled our white apparel as a means of sterilizing them for bandages. Mother Teresa was very gifted in knowing how to help the wounded and those ill from exposure. Many a wounded soldier of both sides, found relief under her care.

"We lost everything"

[Photo caption]
Bottom left: St. Catherine Academy, topped by the cupola, is visible on the hill behind the house in the foreground. This Civil War photograph was taken about 1864.

 
Erected 2013 by Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.
 
Location. 34° 31.309′ N, 90° 35.503′ W. Marker is in Helena, Arkansas, in Phillips County. Marker is at the intersection of Columbia Street (Business U.S. 49) and Arkansas Street, on the right when traveling south on Columbia Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 Columbia Street, Helena AR 72342, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. St. Catherine Academy (here, next to this marker); Sacred Heart Academy (a few steps
The view north on Columbia Street from the marker. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 26, 2017
3. The view north on Columbia Street from the marker.
from this marker); Life Under Union Occupation (approx. mile away); Battery D (approx. mile away); General J.F. Fagan's Attack (approx. 0.3 miles away); The New Fort Curtis (approx. 0.3 miles away); Defending Helena (approx. 0.3 miles away); Fort Curtis, 1862-1867 (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Helena.
 
More about this marker. An Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial site and a part of the Arkansas Civil War Discovery Trail.
 
Categories. Churches, Etc.EducationWar, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 7, 2017. This page originally submitted on September 7, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 53 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 7, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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