A Cemetery Becomes a Battleground

A Cemetery Becomes a Battleground (HM21F8)

Location: Helena-West Helena, AR 72342 Phillips County
Country: United States of America
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N 34° 31.565', W 90° 35.809'

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Inscription
Imagine this area covered in trees. Where you stand is a quiet
cemetery. It is the first burial ground for the city of Helena and
the resting place of some of the city's earliest residents.

Engineers and Battle Begin the Destruction
The peace of this place was shattered in the spring of 1863. Union
army engineers decided that Graveyard Hill, as they called it, was
the perfect location for one of the four batteries they planned to
construct on Crowley's Ridge. Soon, the thud of axes and scrape of
saws filled the air as soldiers felled trees to provide clear lines of
fire. They dug a ditch and mounded the earth over graves to form
the battery's walls. More destruction took place during the Battle
of Helena. The rush of troops dislodged stones and the intense
artillery fire directed at Battery C leveled monuments and cratered
the ground.

Nature Continues what War Began
After the war, natural forces continued the destruction. No longer
anchored by tree roots and vegetation, the soil eroded away,
exposing graves. The cemetery, no longer used or maintained,
deteriorated. Relatives moved the remains of loved ones
elsewhere, many to the new cemetery north of town, now Maple
Hill Cemetery. The remains of those with no one to care for them
were
left to their fate. At one time, it was not uncommon to see
headstones and bones washing out of the hillside into the deep
gullies that scored the sides of Graveyard Hill.

This hilltop was leveled in the 1970s, removing any vestige of the
former burial site. Archaeological investigations of Battery C
conducted in 2011 and 2013 found no trace of the old city
cemetery.
Details
HM NumberHM21F8
Tags
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 4th, 2017 at 10:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15S E 720574 N 3823112
Decimal Degrees34.52608333, -90.59681667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 34° 31.565', W 90° 35.809'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds34° 31' 33.9" N, 90° 35' 48.54" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)870
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1201-1299 Yorkshire Dr, Helena-West Helena AR 72342, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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