One of the trademarks of the Civil War Helena initiative includes the use of public art in its interpretation of the 1863 battle. First used in a life-sized diorama at Freedom Park in Helena, the iron soldiers tell the story of the men that fought that day. Freedom Park’s iron soldiers portray the 2nd Arkansas of African Descent while the statues on Battery C represent both Union and Confederate soldiers. While the interpretation remains unbiased, thusly the use of public art on Helena battle sites.
The soldiers are life sized and bring a new element of interpretative design on the intrinsic landscape. These iron soldiers are much more than metal cut-outs. Each soldier has an expression on his face and each one is a one-of-a-kind.
Built to stand the harsh elements in the Delta, these sentinels are like snap shots taken that fateful day in July 1863. There will be several more iron soldiers on Battery C highlighted over the next few days.
The soldier you see here represents a US infantryman in the 33rd Iowa or the 33rd Missouri, as both units were manning the Union garrison on Graveyard Hill. This soldier is firing toward the South West, the direction Parson’s brigade was attacking from. Directly to this soldier’s right was the area General Dandridge McRae was assaulting the Union position.
Battery C Park, maintained by the Delta Cultural Center, is open daily from 9am-5pm.