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Helena

Phillips County, AR  |  Jul 4, 1863

In June, 1863, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Holmes, Confederate commander in Arkansas, sought to relieve Union pressure on Vicksburg, Mississippi as the army of Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant besieged that strategic city. Holmes won approval for a plan to assault the Union-held river town of Helena, Arkansas, 170 miles north of Vicksburg. About 4,000 Union soldiers were in Helena under the command of Maj. Gen. Benjamin Prentiss, who had already sent one division from the town to reinforce Grant’s army. Four artillery batteries defended Helena, surrounded by breastworks and rifle pits. Steep hills faced the town on three sides. Holmes planned three attacks against the town's defenses: the largest, main attack from the west and other attacks from the north and south. Early on the morning of July 4, Holmes's columns struck the Federal defenses. The north and south attacks were not coordinated well and failed due to poor timing, bad communications and lack of artillery support. In the center, the main attack column struck Battery C on Graveyard Hill and achieved a breakthrough. Union defenders from other parts of the line pushed the attackers back and sealed the breach. By 11:00 a.m. the fighting was over and the Confederates withdrew. Vicksburg surrendered to Grant that same day, and Helena continued to be an important Union base for Union operations west of the Mississippi.

All battles of the Grant's Operations Against Vicksburg Campaign

Port Gibson
Claiborne County, MS  |  May 1, 1863
Result: Union Victory
Est. Casualties: 1,628
Union: 861
Confederate: 767
Raymond
Hinds County, MS  |  May 12, 1863
Result: Union Victory
Est. Casualties: 961
Union: 446
Confederate: 515
Champion Hill
Hinds County, MS  |  May 16, 1863
Result: Union Victory
Est. Casualties: 6,297
Union: 2,457
Confederate: 3,840
Big Black River Bridge
Hinds County and Warren County, MS  |  May 17, 1863
Result: Union Victory
Est. Casualties: 2,273
Union: 273
Confederate: 1,751
La batalla de Vicksburg
Warren County, MS  |  May 18 - Jul 4, 1863
Result: Union Victory
Est. Casualties: 37,273
Union: 4,910
Confederate: 32,363
Vicksburg
Warren County, MS  |  May 18 - Jul 4, 1863
Result: Union Victory
Est. Casualties: 37,273
Union: 4,910
Confederate: 32,363
Milliken's Bend
Madison Parish, LA  |  Jun 7, 1863
Result: Union Victory
Est. Casualties: 837
Union: 652
Confederate: 185
Helena
Phillips County, AR  |  Jul 4, 1863
Result: Union Victory
Est. Casualties: 1,842
Union: 206
Confederate: 1,636

Related Battles

Helena, AR | July 4, 1863
Result: Union Victory
Forces Engaged
11,775
Union
4,129
Confed.
7,646
Estimated Casualties
1,842
Union
206
Confed.
1,636