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Helena, battle at. There was a sharp struggle between the National and Confederate troops at Helena, Ark., on the west side of the Mississippi, on July 4, 1863. Gen. B. M. Prentiss was in command there. The Confederates in that region were under the command of General Holmes, assisted by Generals Price, Marmaduke, Fagan, Parsons, McRae, and Walker, and were the remnants of shattered armies, about 8,000 strong in effective men. The post at Helena was strongly fortified. It had a garrison of 3,000 men, supported by the gunboat Tyler. Holmes was ignorant of the real strength of Prentiss, and made a bold attack upon the works. At three o'clock in the afternoon the Confederates were repulsed at all points, and withdrew with a loss, reported by Holmes, of 20 per cent. of the entire force, or 1,636 men. Prentiss lost 250 men. The Confederate loss must have been much greater than Holmes reported, for Prentiss buried 300 of their dead left behind, and captured 1,100 men.
Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing),
Prentiss, Benjamin Mayberry 1819- (search)
Prentiss, Benjamin Mayberry 1819- Military officer; born in Belleville, Va., Nov. 23, 1819; served as captain in the Mexican War, and in April, 1861, became colonel of the 7th Illinois Volunteers, in which State he resided since 1841. He was promoted brigadier-general of three-months' troops, and was placed in command at Cairo, then a position of great importance. In May, 1861, he was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers, and served in Missouri until April, 1862, when he joined General Grant, and fought in the battle of Shiloh, where he was taken prisoner. In November he was promoted major-general, and early in July, 1863, he defeated a Confederate force under Generals Holmes and Price, at Helena, Ark.