The attack on Helena.
[from the N. Y. sun July 1896.] a Veteran's story of the desperate Fourth of July battle.
An attempt to save Vicksburg.
It failed, However—the attempt of 8,000 Confederates to dislodge 4,000 Yankees was Unsuccessful—a true and thrilling Fourth of July story.
“These are souvenirs of the one Fourth of July I shall never forget,” said a Confederate veteran in Washington
, on his way to the reunion at Richmond
He held up in evidence a pair of empty sleeves, which showed both arms cut off just below the elbows so evenly, that it might have been done by a stroke from a butcher's cleaver.
I didn't lose them burning powder for fun, either.
I knew that everything we toyed with that day was loaded; loaded to kill.
The same with the enemy.
It was a Yankee shell at Helena, fired from the gunboat Tyler, which placed me on the retired list, where I have been since July 4, 1863.
I was an officer in Fagan's Arkansas brigade and I never enjoyed a picnic beforehand in my life, as I did that stealthy 1oo-mile march from Little Rock to give the Yankees in their works at Helena a Fourth of July surprise party.
You see, we had been lying idle all summer in Arkansas, while Grant closed the coils around our people at Vicksburg.
We numbered about 8,000 men, consisting of our brigade, two brigades of “ Pap” Price's Missourians, and Marmaduke's cavalry, and “Joe” Shelby's brigade counted in. Holmes was our commander, and one day he telegraphed to army headquarters, “ I believe we can take Helena.
Please let me attack it.”
The reply was, “Go ahead and do it!”
Should we take Helena, why Grant would simply have to call off his dogs at Vicksburg, and “sick ” 1 them on us, for, don't you see, we could shut off Yankey navigation in the