The Confederates Take Battery C
"Both brigades moved forward on the instant, rapidly, steadily
unflinchingly, and in perfect order under a storm of Minie balls,
grape, and canister, which poured upon them not only from the
Graveyard Hill in their front but from the fortified hills upon the
right and left, both of which were in easy range. The enemy gave
way before the impetuous assault of the attacking columns,
which entering the works almost simultaneously, planted the
Confederate flag upon the summit of Graveyard Hill."
Thus did Confederate General Sterling Price, left, describe the
assault on Battery C.
The Federals Retaliate
Captain Thomas Stevens, 28th Wisconsin, watched from Battery B
as the Confederates "... hauled down our flag..." As 3,000
Confederate troops rejoiced, at least four generals stood atop
Battery C eyeing the prize—Helena. Victory seemed within their
grasp. Suddenly, the guns at Fort Curtis, the U.S.S. Tyler and
Batteries B and D unleashed a hail of shot and shell. The din
roared in the ears of the Confederates caught in a deadly crossfire.
A Union Victory on the 4th of July.
The Confederate commander, General Theophilus Holmes,
arrived amid the confusion.
Bypassing the chain of command,
he ordered an attack on Battery D. Chaos reigned as some men
marched toward Battery D while most carried out orders to
attack Fort Curtis. The Confederates displayed a great deal of
courage but their effort was futile. Many Confederates lost their
lives; more were captured. Holmes ordered a general retreat and
soon, the stars and stripes flew again over Battery C.
"We would not wish the scene to be repeated; but now it has
passed, there is no 'celebration of the 4th' to which we look
back on with so much pride as our 4th of July at Helena."
Sgt. Andrew F. Sperry, 33rd Missouri (U.S.)