If, instead of this, the regiments and brigades had been re-formed instantly, the capture of Hindman Hill, and consequently of the town, would have been of easy occurrence. I cannot close this report without expressing my obligations to his Excellency, Harris Flanigan, Governor of Arkansas, who accompanied me, and had my confidence, during the whole campaign. I owe to his cool, discriminating judgment, many valuable suggestions. His presence, confidence, and zeal had no little influence on the spirit and energy of the Arkansas troops. He and Colonel Gordon Rear, Adjutant-General of the State, acted as volunteer Aids-de-Camp on my staff during the battle. As the expedition failed, which should have succeeded, I refrain from all expressions of commendation, believing that the brave officers and men who distinguished themselves will willingly forego the applause due to them, in consideration that our beloved country reaped no benefit from their exploits. I have the honor to be, General, Very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
Thomas H. Holmes, Lieutenant-General.
Report of Major-General Price.
headquarters Price's division, camp on Jones' Lake, July 13, 1863.Captain: I have the honor to submit to the Lieutenant-General commanding, the following report of the part taken by this division in the attack made upon Helena on the fourth instant: I left Jacksonport, in obedience to his orders, on the twenty-second day of June, with this division and Marmaduke's division of cavalry. My march was greatly impeded by the extraordinary rains, which, beginning on the evening of the twenty-fourth June, and falling almost without intermission for four days, made the rivers, bayous, and creeks, over which my route lay, and the bottoms and swamps through which it ran, almost impassable to troops, unprovided, as mine were, with the means of repairing roads and constructing bridges or rafts. I was, however, enabled by the skill and energy of my officers, and by the willing endurance and laborious industry of my men, to surmount these unlooked — for obstacles, and to reach, on the morning of the third instant, a point within five miles of Helena. At this point, Lieutenant-General Holmes, having assumed the immediate command of all the troops before Helena, detached Marmaduke's division from my command, leaving me two brigades; the one of Arkansians, under Brigadier-General Dandridge McRae, consisting of three regiments of infantry and a field battery, with twelve hundred and twenty-seven men present for duty; the other of Missourians, under Brigadier-General M. Monroe Parsons, consisting of four regiments of infantry, a battalion of sharpshooters, and a field battery, having in all, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight (1,868) men present for duty. These two brigades constituted this division. The order of attack directed that I, “in command of McRae's and Parson's brigades, should proceed by the best route, assume position, assault and take the Graveyard Hill at daylight.” I made my dispositions accordingly, and moved at midnight, with Parsons' brigade in front. As my route lay for the greater part of the way across abrupt hills and deep ravines, over which it was utterly impracticable to move my artillery during the darkness, I ordered the pieces to be left behind until daybreak, and armed details from each battery to accompany the infantry, in order to man the guns which I expected to capture. Finding, when I had gotten within a mile and a half of the position which I had been ordered to take, that my division would arrive upon the ground prematurely, I ordered a halt, during which the Lieutenant-General commanding came to and remained with the division until the dawn of day, when the line of march was resumed. Then pushing forward rapidly, until my skirmishers had become engaged with those of the enemy, and within half a mile of his works, the troops were formed into two columns of divisions, Parsons' brigade occupying the right and moving in front. The enemy's fire becoming somewhat sharp about this time, the guides who were conducting the columns took occasion to leave unperceived. Some confusion and consequent delay ensued, but another guide having been obtained, the head of the column soon occupied the position from which the assault was to be made. A brief halt was here ordered, to give the troops time to recover somewhat from the exhausting fatigues consequent upon their rapid march over a succession of almost precipitous and heavily wooded hills. The order for the assault (as explained to the General officers and regimental commanders of the division the evening before) directed that General Parsons, moving in front, should halt the head of his column at the point from which he was to make the assault, until the head of General McRae's column should reach its position on the left, when both columns should advance simultaneously to the assault. During the brief halt just alluded to, and just as I had ordered General McRae forward, the Lieutenant-General commanding rode up and asked why the assault had not been made. I explained the facts to him, and thinking that time enough had elapsed for General McRae to get into position, I dispatched one of my staff to General Parsons to ascertain why he was not advancing. He replied that he was waiting for General McRae to get into position. Meanwhile General McRae had moved his brigade into position, but (owing to the difficulties and necessities of the ground) further to the left than had been originally ordered and explained to General Parsons, and with a high ridge interposing
Captain John W. Hinsdale, A. A. G.:
Captain John W. Hinsdale, A. A. G.: