the most undoubting hope and confidence, but less confidently as hour after hour wore on, and still they made not their appearance. Time wore on, the pleasant morning deepened into the sultriest and hottest of days. The thinned ranks of my regiments became thinner and thinner each moment. The guns of the enemy (not more than one hundred or one hundred and fifty yards distant) were telling sadly against us, whilst the heat, the want of water, and the toil, were no mean auxiliaries. Still, the brave men left stood manfully up to the discharge of their duty. At this time, written orders were received from Lieutenant-General Holmes, directing that I withdraw my troops from the field, and fall back to Allan Polk's (six miles in the rear). We retired from the field, and fell back slowly to that point. It was in the last assault upon the fort that Major Cocke, of Hawthorne's regiment, received a severe wound in the shoulder. I would make especial mention of this brave and accomplished officer — his daring was conspicuous throughout the engagement. Here, also, the much beloved Captain Walton Watkins, whilst most gallantly leading his company over the enemy's works, fell. It has never been my lot to witness more gallantry and more determined courage than displayed by this young officer on that day. We mourn the loss of other brave and true officers who fell during the engagement. Of the conduct of my Colonels, too much praise cannot be said. Brooks, King, Hawthorne, and Bell, each and every one, did his whole duty. Brooks' command being on the lower road, was not immediately under my eye, but of the part taken by him I respectfully refer you to his report. He succeeded entirely in carrying out the orders he received to the letter. His report will show the number of prisoners captured by him, as well as the amount of property taken and brought from the field, or destroyed. The position assigned to Colonel King threw him perhaps on that ground most difficult of all to get over. Had it not been for the determined character of this brave young Colonel, his regiment, perhaps, would not have been advanced over all the difficulties he met with. Major Dillard and Adjutant Bourne, of same regiment (King's), deserve much praise for the assistance they rendered Colonel King. Colonel Hawthorne was constantly at the front, cheering his men on from one success to another. When orders came from Lieutenant-General Holmes to abandon the field, Colonel Hawthorne remained with a small number of his men, engaging the enemy, until the last of the army had left the field, and retired beyond the high hills which lay between them and danger. Colonel Bell and Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson, same regiment, with a large number of his officers and over one hundred of his men, were captured by the enemy, in an attempt to enter the fort from the south side. The loss of Colonel Bell is a serious one to us. It affords me pleasure to bear testimony to his distinguished gallantry and daring. Major Blackwell (Bell's regiment) was intrusted by me with an important part on the field, and is entitled to my thanks for the successful manner in which he performed it. Major B. T. Duval, Quartermaster on my staff, is entitled to my thanks for his constant attention to every duty on the march from Little Rock. He was with me on the field, and, by his coolness and good judgment, was enabled to render me important assistance up to the time of the withdrawal of my troops from the field. Captain Wyatt C. Thomas, Assistant Adjutant-General of the brigade, was, as usual, at his post. The conduct of this young officer has often before won for him “honorable mention.” On this field, he was constantly with, and cheering the troops forward. His bravery and gallantry justify especial mention. My Aid-de-Camp, Captain Albert Belding, always eager to discharge every duty, was sent, by me at daylight, with important orders to Colonel Brooks, some distance from me on my right. I was consequently deprived of the valuable assistance his quickness and daring so well qualify him to render on the field. Captain John B. Howell, my Ordnance Officer, was ordered to remain constantly with his ammunition train, which, as above stated, had to be left in the rear. This deprived me of the immediate services of this gallant officer. The officers of my staff, Major B. F. Fall, brigade Commissary; Mr. James H. Tucker volunteer Aid-de-Camp, and Mr. J. W. Paul, acting Inspector-General, are all entitled to my thanks for the assistance rendered me during the engagement. The aggregate force engaged against Fort Hindman and the defences in front of it, was thirteen hundred and thirty-nine. I have, Major, the honor to be, With much respect, Your obedient servant,
J. F. Fagan, Brigadier-General.
Report of Colonel King.
Heaquarters King's regiment Arkansas infantry, camp at Searcy, July 22, 1863.Sir: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by my regiment in the late battle fought at Helena, on the fourth instant: On the night of the third instant I took up the line of march at eleven o'clock, taking the road leading to Helena; and when within about ten miles of that place, I, with Colonels Hawthorne and Bell, led by General Fagan, took the road leading into town by the way of Hindman Hill. When arriving within about three quarters of a mile of the hill, we found the road so
Captain Wyatt C. Thomas:
Captain Wyatt C. Thomas: