His men were in charge of these four batteries, not long before he had established these batteries there was an attack. However, Presents was well prepared, and he received great victory. These, however led to a few Of his men being injured, Others died and some went missing. These were contrary, to the high numbers of the confederates Who had started the assault. The Many bodies Of the dead were piled in heaps a situation that was demoralizing for the confederates.
Statistics identified that confederates who lost their lives in these battle were 1 73, whereas he wounded were 687, also the number of the missing people was high totaling to 776 (Christ, 2012). The battle of Helena can best be described as an attempt that was desperate to reduce the mounting pressure on Vicksburg (Newly and Mark, 2009). These came in the form of attack and seizure of Helena. However, it did not go well on the side of the confederates who lacked the mastery for the job leading to their great loss.
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Fifth confederates had prepared earlier enough and prepared well their plan would have probably worked. Among the reasons leading to the victory of Presents was the fact that he had overestimated the power of the confederates. The estimated number of soldiers expected was ranging between IS,COCO and 20,000. These made him develop plans to ensure that his soldiers manned his territory very well. The battle of Helena, Arkansas took place in 1863 on July 4th between the Confederate forces and the Union forces in the American civil war.
The confederate forces had attacked Union positions with the intention Of alleviating pressure they were experiencing on the town of Vicksburg that was besieged at the time. The Union forces were at the time under the command Of Mac. Gene. Benjamin M. Presents. The Union army troops in Eastern Arkansas headquartered at Helena under Mac. Presents and were 20,000. The town Of Helena, protected by four batteries of artillery and rifle pits placed at intervals around the town in a semi-circle formation. During the Union’s siege of Vicksburg most of the troops here were sent to support the siege effort leaving only 4000 troops to defend Helena.
The Confederate army chose to attack at this time as a strategic move to dissolve the pressure they were under at Vicksburg. The Confederate forces that attacked Helena was under the command of Let. Gene. Audiophiles H. Holmes, who was in control of the Confederate command in Arkansas. He intended to prevent the Union forces trot continuing their advance into Arkansas using Helena as their base for the advance, He also intended to alleviate the pressure on Vicksburg by dividing the land forces that were at the time concentrated on Vicksburg.
He hoped the attack on Helena would make the Union forces to get divided and lose some of their attack ferocity that was currently concentrated at Vicksburg. His plan was a three-pronged attack on the fortified defenses of the federal stronghold of Helena. The living conditions at the time in Arkansas were destitute, and the Union forces had created an overcrowding of the town. The Union commander Gene. Presents heard of the advancing Confederates and to slow their advance worked at felling trees along their path. Brig.
John Marmalade was instructed to move his troops from Jackson port Arkansas towards Helena. The same instructions were given to Brig. Gene. James Fleming Fagan, who was at Little rock and to Major general Sterling Price, Of the Jackson port infantry. AL Commander Holmes also traveled to Helena to personally oversee the attack. Holmes understood the tough proposition of attacking the strongly fortified Helena. However, after Grant’s advance on Vicksburg, there was a major depletion of soldiers and other materials at the fortified town, which convinced Holmes to attack.
Audiophiles Holmes, the Lieutenant General, took his strong troops and attacked Helena with the aim of relieving the mounting pressure on particularly Vicksburg. The Confederate side had a lot of valuable troops and first captured some fortifications. However, the defending union forces counteracted them with brute force. For this reason, Helena went on to be part of the Union enclave and also proved to be a significant base, eventually leading to the capture of Little Rock despite the plague that would weaken them (Towns, 2013, p. 67).
The condition continuously worsened due to disease that led to the weakening of the Union battalions in Helena, By 1862, the troops in the town became worthless in the battlefield. The illness did not subside with time and Helena became famously known as the most unsay area in the Union. Mac. Gem Wallace, who was a commander recommended abandonment of his post because f the location’s unimportance and sickened condition. The four deadly diseases that plagued the soldiers were: typhus, dysentery, typhoid, and malaria, typhoid, according to modern-day disease knowledge.
It led to the demise of armies rendering them in serviceable, since of inadequate understanding in medicine, of the disease’s cause, links on sanitation, health and the environment. Also, the treatment was ineffective thus, impeding the ability to resist Confederate forces. The war experienced also caused the disruption Of economic activities such as farming, causing a relatively worsened situation. Lack of adequate food and nutrition by that time worsened the already deteriorated condition and led to the demise of the troops (Jones, 201 1, p. 33).
In the diseased conditions Helena was experiencing communicable diseases and other infectious illnesses were very easy to catch due to a weakened immune system of the locals and troops and making it spread very fast. The battle was disastrous for the confederates whose efforts encountered challenges like poor communication, coordination and execution between the men in charge of the three separate battalions attacking Helena, The orders even by Holmes were also not explicitly clear, and that led to discordance and ultimately disorganized attacking.
The idea had been to have a coordinated attack from three sides so as to overwhelm and breach the defenses by sheer force of numbers and firepower, Unfortunately, the orders to attack ‘at dawn’ drew different interpretations trot Fagan and Price (Christ, 2010, p. 45). It resulted in one attacking at first light and the other at sunrise, So when Pagan attacked at first light, he expected Price to be occupied attacking the battery on graveyard hill, but was surprised to find that was not the case He was pinned own by the batteries that should have been busy occupied by Price’s men had the attack proceeded at the same time.
Pagan had no choice but to continue his attack under heavy artillery fire. Price commenced his attack on graveyard hill an hour later, but was met With concentrated artillery fire from the batteries and the ‘timber clad’ attack boat the Tyler on the Mississippi (Smith, 2008, p. 112). Price eventually managed to take the hill and intended to turn the artillery against the remaining Union men, but the guns had been destroyed by the fleeing Federalists before the hill got captured.
Hill’s capture and the outer fortifications by Price and Fagan, respectively, should have turned the tide for the Confederates, but a series of confusing orders from Holmes made them fail to press home the advantage they had. Indecision and poor decision-making led to a failure to take Helena and instead a rally from the remaining defending Union an-NY led to the capitulation of Holmes and the Confederates. The only option he had left was w general retreat and withdrawal from Helena. The result was a casualty list of 239 Union men and 1 ,614 confederates.