large as mine. An advance to attack the enemy in the rifle-pits would have subjected my small command to the heavy guns of Fort Curtis, a light battery in the rear of the works, an enfilading fire from the rifled battery, and an attack in flank and rear from the levee. Under these circumstances, I deemed it best to hold that force of the enemy in check, and prevent him from reinforcing his most important points of defence, and by the use of a six-pounder (not being able to bring more than one piece into position) divert as much as possible, the fire of the battery and gunboat from the attacking columns. In this I was entirely successful. At twelve o'clock M., I received orders from Brigadier-General Fagan to retire, and, subsequently, instructions from Lieutenant-General Holmes to halt at a designated position, as the rear guard of the army. By my direction, Captain Denson's company applied the torch to the negro quarters, which were consumed, together with five thousand pounds of bacon, fifteen hundred bushels of corn, and a quantity of commissary stores and clothing. During the entire morning the demonstrations of the enemy behind the levee were of a threatening character. Captain Denson, commanding cavalry detachment, rendered efficient service in counteracting his movements and protecting my right flank.----------, of his company, distinguished himself in the capture of three prisoners. I brought off nine prisoners, eight negroes, five mules, one horse and equipments, one ambulance and team, and a small lot of clothing and canteens. Companies B and K (skirmishers), commanded respectively by Captains F. R. Earle and Arkansas Wilson, deserve especial mention for the steadiness with which they advanced, drove the enemy before them, and maintained their positions under a heavy artillery fire. Lieutenant-Colonel Gunter and Major Pettigrew were constantly at their posts in the discharge of their duties. The only casualty in my regiment was private A. C. Peck, Company B, severely wounded in the chest. I am, Captain, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
W. H. Brooks, Colonel, commanding.
Report of Colonel Bell's regiment.
camp Bayou Deview, July 10, 1863.Captain: I have the honor to make my report of the part taken by Bell's regiment in the engagement of the fourth instant at Helena. We moved for half a mile at double-quick, passing through brush and logs, with which the road was blockaded, and approached in view of Helena at half-past 4 o'clock A. M., taking our position on Colonel Hawthorne's left in line of battle, and commenced firing on the enemy in front. The enemy threatened to flank us on the left, when Captains Hurley's and Donaldson's companies were detached and thrown out to engage him, under my command, to protect our left flank. The regiment then advanced over the first hill. Here Captains Pleasants and Smith were wounded, and many men killed and wounded. The ground at this point was almost impassable, and the whole road and deep ravine full of timber, over which I scattered my men, and it was impossible to keep in line; but we succeeded in getting through, after remaining in the timber and hollows nearly two hours under a heavy fire, and made a charge, when, the enemy giving way, we entered the rifle-pits. Here many of our men fell, perfectly exhausted, from over-heat. At this point the firing ceased on our left, indicating that our forces had been called off. The enemy, seeing our condition, rushed upon and surrounded us, and compelled many of our officers and men to surrender. The detachment under my command advanced over two ravines and up the hill fronting and nearest to the intrenchments and fort, about three hundred paces distant, which position we held about two hours, keeping up a constant fire until the ammunition was exhausted. About that time Colonel Hawthorne, on our right, ordered a charge on the intrenchments. I called on my men to join in the charge, which, with the exception of Captain Donaldson and part of his company, followed, and in about twenty minutes we reached the intrenchments, where I remained, awaiting ammunition, which I had sent for, until I was ordered to fall back. My men, with few exceptions, acted well. I will mention the names of Lieutenant Porter, of Company B, Lieutenant Thompson, Sergeant Lowry, and private Dance, of Company A, as acting with marked bravery. The loss of the detachment was two killed, six wounded, and thirty missing. The regiment entered the fight with an aggregate of four hundred and thirty-two; the entire loss was two hundred and seventeen. I respectfully submit the above as my report of the part taken by Bell's regiment in the engagement of the fourth instant at Helena.
Report of Colonel Hawthorne.
headquarters Hawthorne's regiment, camp near Bayou Deview, July 9, 1863.Sir: In obedience to orders from brigade headquarters, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part my regiment took in the action at Helena, on the fourth instant: At eleven o'clock P. M., on the night of the third, we left our encampment, six miles from Helena, and marched to take up our positions in front of the intrenchments, my regiment being in the advance. The road over which we
Captain W. C. thomas, A. A. General:
Captain W. C. thomas, A. A. General: