Helena in Phillips County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
“the gun boat Tyler saved the day “
The Battle of Helena, July 4 1863
The Tyler steamed into action before dawn, firing on Confederate troops near Helena on the Little Rock Road. Two hours later the Tyler's captain, Lieutenant Commander James M. Pritchett, brought the gunboat opposite Battery C.
A Barrage of Shot and Shell
As the Confederates aimed the captured battery's guns on Fort Curtis, the Tyler opened fire. Her broadside guns poured fire onto Graveyard Hill and into the ravines sheltering sharpshooters. Her stern guns pounded the battery below as her bow guns poured shells into the upper battery. The Tyler's gunners fired 433 rounds of shots and shell with deadly effect.
The Tyler's Captain Praised
General Benjamin Prentiss, Commander of the Union forces at Helena, wrote Admiral David D. Porter, "Pritchett acquitted himself with honor and distinction...I attribute not a little of our success in the late battle to his full knowledge of the situation."
The U.S.S Tyler Goes to War
The U.S. Navy converted the U.S.S. Tyler from a freight passenger steamer to a timberclad gunboat in August 1861.
The Tyler was a paddle wheeler with a wheel at each side. She was 180 feet long and 52 feet wide.
The Reinforced Hull
Five inches of oak on the upper deck and pilot areas protected the Tyler from small arms fire but nothing heavier. Barges tied alongside helped protected the hull.
The Tyler carried three 30-pounders, one 12-pounder and six 8-inch smooth bore guns.
USS Tyler on one of the Western rivers, circa 1862-1865.
A small cutter is in the foreground and a "City" class ironclad is in the right distance.
Courtesy U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph Collection
Erected by Support for civil War Helena generously provided by Delta Cultural Center -Department of Arkansas Heritage, Helena-West Helena.
Location. 34° 31.237′ N, 90° 34.821′ W. Marker is in Helena, Arkansas, in Phillips County. Touch for map. Located on the levee and the end of the walking trail next to the Mississippi River. Marker is in this post office area: Helena AR 72342, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "Hell-in-Arkansas" (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); They Passed This Way (approx. Helena and The Trail of Tears (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Battle of Helena (approx. 0.3 miles away); Phillips County Goes to War (approx. 0.3 miles away); A Union Stronghold in Confederate Arkansas (approx. 0.3 miles away); A Great Upheaval (approx. 0.3 miles away); Explore our Top Outdoor Destinations (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Helena.
Categories. • War, US Civil • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 23, 2012, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 790 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on January 23, 2012, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.