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Report of Colonel Newton.

headquarters Newton's regiment Arkansas cavalry, camp at Gist's, Phillips county, Arkansas, July 8, 1863.
Captain J. C. Alexander, A. A. G. Walker's Division, &c., in the Field:
Captain: I have the honor, in obedience to your instructions of to-day, to submit the following report of the part taken by my regiment in the attack on Helena on the fourth instant:

I reached Mrs. Moonley's and halted there about twelve o'clock P. M., on the third instant. About an hour before day on the morning of the fourth, in obedience to an order from the Brigadier-General commanding, I resumed the march, taking the Sterling road towards Helena, moving in rear of Coloner Dobbins' regiment. Arriving at the spring, about a mile from town, the brigade was halted by General Walker. We remained there until the firing commenced on our right, when I was ordered up to a point near the blockade of felled timber, there to await orders.

About seven o'clock I received an order to send thirty sharpshooters to the support of Colonel Dobbins' regiment, who were deployed to our front, beyond the blockade and to the left of the skirmishers, from General Marmaduke's command. I detailed the required number from the different companies, selecting men with long-range guns, as far as practicable; placed them under command of Lieutenant Barnes, of Company A, and carried them forward to the left of Dobbins' skirmishers. and beyond the lagoon (which, starting from near the base of the levee, on the north side of Helena, runs eastward to Porter's Lake), where they were soon engaged with the enemy, and did good service.

At half-past 7, by order of General Walker, I detached Companies B and G under command of Captain Portis, of the former, and deployed them as skirmishers to support Barnes' sharpshooters, and resist a small force of Federal cavalry which was reported to be threatening our extreme left. About eight o'clock Portis reported to me that the enemy had reenforced in his front, that he was being pressed, and needed two more companies. I immediately communicated the information to General Walker, and, by his direction, instructed Portis to observe the enemy closely, skirmish with him and, if too heavily pressed, fall back slowly, advising me from time to time of what was transpiring.

About this time I received an order to send forward another company to support Dobbins' skirmishers, which I obeyed by sending Captain Rolland's Company E, under command of Lieutenant Garner.

Learning that the enemy had made several attempts to force Portis back, and gain possession of the west bank of Porter's lake, which would enable him, by means of his sharpshooters, to annoy the rear at our battery posted on the hill in front of the blockade, and, perhaps, finally force us from the hill altogether, I went in person to where Portis was to learn the true condition of affairs, and ascertain what, if anything, could be done. I found that Portis, with his small force, had made a gallant resistance, and had thus far foiled the enemy in his several attempts to occupy the western or inner bank of Porter's lake; but that he, nevertheless, had lost some ground, and had but little more to lose. I deemed it important, therefore, not only to regain what had been lost, but to drive the enemy beyond the levee and into town, if possible, with my small force. There not being time left me to previously communicate with General Walker, I ordered up Companies C and F, without first notifying him. The latter I deployed as skirmishers, and advanced to the front. They were soon engaged. I moved Company C forward across the lagoon before mentioned, and, pursuing the skirmishers to the front vigorously, ordered a charge. The enemy fled precipitately. We pursued him about three hundred yards. Finding that he was rallying his men in his rifle-pits, which were situated to the left of the levee and near the river bank, I deployed my whole force then with me as skirmishers, posted them as best I could, and left them under command of Captain Portis, with instructions to hold the ground we had thus gained, until he should receive other orders from me. I started to the headquarters of the Brigadier-General commanding, to get permission to use my whole regiment for the purpose of dislodging the enemy, or, failing in that, confining him to his rifle-pits, and thus prevent him from annoying our left. Arriving there, I learned that our troops were withdrawing, and, by General Walker's direction, retired my command to the point where the mountain road, leading from the spring on the Sterling road to the Grant's Mill road, diverges from the Sterling road, and there disposed my forces so as to cover the withdrawal of our troops. When the rear of Dobbins' regiment had passed, I moved back on the Mountain road, as directed, and thence upon Grant's Mill road.

I enclose herewith a list of casualties. The officers and men engaged behaved in admirable style. Captains Portis and Bryant, commanding skirmishers, did their duty well. Lieutenant Barnes, who, with his thirty sharpshooters, was almost constantly engaged, here, as everywhere else that I have ever placed him, was prompt and faithful and displayed great courage. Lieutenant Smith, adjutant of the regiment, brave to a fault, and seeking rather than avoiding danger, rendered much valuable service. And as were the officers, so were the private soldiers whom they led, fearless of danger, each seeming intent solely on doing his duty well.

I am, Captain, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

R. C. Newton, Colonel, commanding.

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John W. Portis (8)
A. A. G. Walker (6)
Coloner Dobbins (5)
R. C. Newton (3)
J. T. M. Barnes (3)
David D. Porter (2)
R. H. Smith (1)
Rolland (1)
Moonley (1)
J. Marmaduke (1)
S. R. Gist (1)
Garner (1)
Wesley Bryant (1)
J. C. Alexander (1)
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July 8th, 1863 AD (1)
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