War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0437 Chapter XXXIV. ATTACK ON HELENA, ARK.

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wounded, and 5 prisoners. Shelby's brigade was in the advance, and so narrow was the road, and so rough and rugged were the hills, that the troops could only march by the flank, and the artillery with great difficulty was brought up piece by piece, and by hand. By the time the advance had reached within 200 yards of the fort, and those in rear brought up and deployed along the ridges, the enemy had brought to my left and rear a body of infantry and several pieces of artillery, which, during the whole day's fight, poured upon me a deadly fire. I now had a heavy force in my front, infantry in rifle-pits and artillery in position, which it would have been difficult with my whole force to have carried. In addition, I had the force on my left (of infantry and artillery) thoroughly protected by the levees, which engaged a large part of my force, and, on every attempt to advance, enfiladed my line. It was from the sharpshooters and artillery on my left and rear that I suffered my greatest loss, and not until they were dislodged could I have advanced. I twice dispatched to Brigadier-General Walker to advance and assist me in dislodging them. It was not done.

From 4.30 a. m. till 11 a. m. I held my position, unable to advance, the enemy, with their infantry and artillery on my front and left flank, constantly engaging my forces. At 11 a. m. I received orders from General Holmes to retire.

My loss was 14 killed, 52 wounded, and 1 missing.* Among the killed were Major R. H. Smith, my division quartermaster, and Captain J. C. Clark, of Company D, Shelby's regiment. Major Smith was a gallant and valuable officer. He was shot dead beside a piece of artillery, encouraging and assisting the cannoneers in their duties. Captain Clark was a most exemplary man and excellent officer. He was killed leading his men forward.

Among the wounded I regret to announce that Colonel Shelby, commanding brigade, who was ever in the thickest of the fight, received a painful and serious would in the wrist.

Four a more special report of the conduct of the several regiments and their officers, I respectfully refer you to the brigade commanders. As yet I have not received the report for Shelby's brigade; will forward it as soon as received; have delayed this report awaiting same. The conduct of every officer and soldier of my command, as far as I know, was excellent.

The attack upon Fort Rightor by my command was a failure. I have every reason to believe that my troops would have carried it had it not been for the force on my left and rear, which occupied that position after daylight, and which could and should have been prevented from taking that position, and, after they had gained the position, could have been driven from it by General Walker's brigade, which did not come to the support of my left till after 7 a. m.; and during the whole engagement his force was more than half a mile to my left and rear. I could see the force which engaged Walker's brigade, and at no time did it exceed 500. I think 300 a big estimate. Walker's brigade not only did not prevent re-enforcements from going to Fort Rightor, but the enemy after sunrise actually passed to my left and half a mile to my rear, and held that position during the day.

Very respectfully,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Major W. B. BLAIR,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, District of Arkansas.


*But see revised statement, p. 438.