Confederate Approaches to Helena Civil War Trail

What to know

In late June, 1863, more than 7,646 Confederate soldiers left their bases in Little Rock and Jacksonport to attack the Federal stronghold of Helena on the Mississippi River and to try to relieve pressure on besieged Vicksburg, Mississippi. For days they struggled through bad roads and swamps before reaching the outskirts of Helena on July 3. The Confederates attacked in the early morning hours of July 4; the strongly entrenched Yankees defeated them soundly, inflicting 1,636 casualties.


Fagan's Approach
(James Fagan's Arkansas troops had a relatively easy journey by train and by foot to the staging area for their attack on Battery D at Helena.) Start at Little Rock on US 70 through North Little Rock to Hwy 161 then Hwy 294 from Jacksonville to Furlow then Hwy 89 to Lonoke then US 70 to DeValls Bluff then Hwy 33 to US 79 through Clarenden then Hwy 86 to US 49 through Marvell to Maple Corner then Hwy 316 to Trenton then Phillips County Road 300 to US 49 into Helena.

Marmaduke's Approach
(John S. Marmaduke's Confederate Missouri cavalry followed this route to attack Battery A at Helena.) Start at Jacksonport on Hwy 17 to Tupelo then Hwy 33 to Augusta then US 64 to Morton then Hwy 269 to US 49 then Hwy 78 at Hunter through Wheatley and Moro to US 79 to Hwy 121 through Rondo to Hwy 1 then Hwy 242 at Lexa into Helena.

Price, McRae and Parson's Approach
(Sterling Price's Confederate division – Dandridge McRae's Arkansans and Mosby M. Parsons's Missourians – left Jacksonport with Marmaduke on June 23, but their march soon turned miserable as they floundered through east Arkansas to make their assault on Battery C.) Start at the junction of US 49 and Phillips County Road 307 near Pillar then to Phillips County Road 300 to Newman Drive to Perry Drive into Helena.

Walker's Approach
(L. Marsh Walker's cavalry looped around Helena to strike the city from the north via Sterling Road, but their tepid attack did little to affect the Union soldiers defending the city.) Start at the junction of US 49 and Hwy 242 then to Park Street in West Helena then 4th Street to Phillips County road 217 to Phillips County road 215 to Phillips County road 239 into Helena.
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Little Rock, AR 72201