This photo is of the interpretative signage explaining the part of the Battle of Helena in which Battery D soldiers came to the aid of the Union troops on Battery C. By the time Battery C was attacked by General Price on July 4, 1863, the battle had been raging for several hours.
The sign reads:
A Terrific Fire From Graveyard Hill
You are facing Battery D. One half-mile southeast of here, it was the closest of the fortifications on Crowley’s Ridge to Battery C. During the Battle of Helena, Union troops at these bateries aided each other with artillery Fire.
Battery C Comes to the Aid of Battery D
The Confederate attack on Battery D began long before the attack on Battery C. As a result, Battery C’s artillery was free to assist the outnumbered Union troops on Battery D.
Confederate Colonel James P. King described the brutal fire his men endured as they struggled toward Battery D: “Here we were met with a terrific fire not only from the inner lines of the works and an enfilading fire from our left, but from the fort on the hill in front of us near Hindman’s house…and also from the battery on what is known as Graveyard Hill.”
Battery D Returns the Favor
By the time the Confederates atacked Battery C, the attack on Battery D was over. The exausted Confederates could do no more. The Union gunners seized the opportunity provided by the lull in the fighting. They turned Battery D’s guns on the Confederates charging Battery C. They showered shell and shot on the atackers but Battery C fell.
The Confederate commander on Battery C ordered the infantry to aid the Confederates stalled at Battery D. They began to climb through a hollow toward Batery D. Suddenly, they were “raked by artillery situated opposite its mouth, and completely enfiladed with rifle-pits in point blank range.” Their commander decided that it was madness to continue. His men held their positions until they received the order to retreat.
Take notice of the ridge in the distance. This ridge is where Military Road is located and is one of the several historical routes used by Civil War troops. The site on which this photo was taken will be the site of the first major engagement for the 2015 Battle of Helena Reenactment.
Winter is always a great time to do battlefield study because you can see all the ripples in the terrain and is easier to see the terrain on which the battle was fought historically.