Defending Helena

Defending Helena (HM21I0)

Location: Helena-West Helena, AR 72342 Phillips County
Country: United States of America
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N 34° 31.549', W 90° 35.508'

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Shortly after the capture of Helena in July 1862, the Union army took
measures to protect the city. Engineers designed a large earthen fort,
which African American laborers completed in October 1862. General
Benjamin Prentiss named the heavily armed fort for the city's first
Union commander, General Samuel Curtis.

Construction Begins
Within weeks of the Union army's arrival in Helena,
engineers began work on a large redoubt, an enclosed
earthwork. They sited the earthen fort on high ground
at the end of a ridge. In 1862, the fort stood three
blocks north of here, just west of the city.

Fort Curtis's Formidable Guns
Engineers designed the impressive fort to protect Helena
from attack. Huge guns brought by Mississippi River
steamboats bristled from the ramparts. The army hoped
that the formidable weapons would cause the Confederates
to think twice before attacking.

Six 24-pounders and one 32-pounder cannon armed Fort
Curtis. The 32-pounder gun alone weighed 7,200 pounds
and could fire a projectile over a mile.

[Photo captions]
Top right:The guns in Fort Curtis, like the guns in Fort Stevens
above, fired over the wall of the fort rather than
through openings cut into the wall.

Middle right:
The guns at Fort Curtis looked like these seen here, in seacoast
mounts on the rampart of Fort Totten near Washington, DC.

Bottom right: Seven Union officers stand next to a 32-pounder
cannon in a fort that protected Washington, DC.
HM NumberHM21I0
Year Placed2013
Placed ByArkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, September 6th, 2017 at 10:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15S E 721035 N 3823093
Decimal Degrees34.52581667, -90.59180000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 34° 31.549', W 90° 35.508'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds34° 31' 32.94" N, 90° 35' 30.48" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)870
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 701-799 York St, 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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