The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 22, In Two Parts. Part 1, Reports. Page: 430
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MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T., AND DEPT. N. W. [CA. gXtt
Repo. of Col. W. B. Brooks, Thirty-fourth Arkansas Infantry.
CAMP NEAR COTTON PLANT, July 10, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the following as the part taken
by my command in the engagement of the 4th instant at Helena:
At dusk on the 3d, in compliance with instructions from Brigadier-
General Fagan, I moved forward with my regiment and one section of
[C. B.] Etter's light artillery, Lieut. J. C. Arnett commanding, to the
support of the cavalry, then within 3 miles of the enemy.
At 1.30 o'clock on the morning of the 4th, I received orders from Brig-
adier-General Fagan to advance on the Little Rock road with my regi-
ment, Captains [W. B.] Denson's, Miller's, and companies of
cavalry, and the section of artillery; make a feint on the south of
Helena; attract the attention of the enemy in that direction; hold the
force in the rifle-pits south of the town, and operate otherwise as I
could. Before reaching Beach Grove I withdrew the cavalry advance,
and, deploying skirmishers, met the enemy's infantry and cavalry pick-
ets at daybreak. A sharp skirmish ensued, in which 3 of the enemy
were killed and 6 captured. Company of cavalry in position on the right
of the line of skirmishers received a fire which killed 3 horses. Moving
forward to the negro quarters, I found them abandoned, the occupants
having fled to the town at the first alarm. Eight negroes were taken and
sent to the rear. Shortly afterward I reached the hill at the Clements
house, and, placing my command in position, advanced skirmishers well
to the front and right, extending nearly to the river. The enemy soon
opened with a rifled battery from the left of the rifle-pits next to the
levee, but without doing any injury. Immediately the gunboat com-
menced firing, one shell exploding in Captain Denson's company,
wounding 3 men and killing 3 horses.
Captain Blocher reported to me with his battery, but a position for it
could not be obtained. I moved Etter's section to the hill, and upon
gaining the summit it was found impracticable to use but one piece.
This opened briskly, drawing a terrific fire from the battery and gunboat,
and, after expending 13 rounds, Lieutenant Arnett was compelled to
withdraw. About 11 o'clock I ordered Lieut. E. T. Deloney upon the hill
with the gun. The range of the enemy's guns was so accurate and the
fire so furious that he retired after firing 8 rounds. The force in front
and on the right was fully three times as 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 rear of
the works, an enfilading fire from the rifled battery, antd 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 re-
enforcing his most important points of defense, and by the use of a
6-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 12 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 5,000 pounds
of bacon, 1,500 bushels of corn, and a quantity of commissary stores and
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United States. War Department. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 22, In Two Parts. Part 1, Reports., book, 1888; Washington D.C.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth154600/m1/433/?q=Etter: accessed November 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.