Award-Winning Author to Headline Lecture Series
To speak at noon on Thursday, May 16
The second lecture, on June 18, will focus again on Helena in a lecture titled “A Grievous Calamity: The Battle of Helena, July 4, 1863.” The Battle of Helena was an important moment during the Civil War in Arkansas, as a Union victory secured the river port and an important base as troops moved towards Little Rock.
Speaker Mark Christ is community outreach director for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. He is a member of the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, serves as chairman of the board of directors of the Arkansas Humanities Council, and is a member of the board of trustees of the Arkansas Historical Association. Christ was named a 2013 recipient of the Civil War Trust’s State Preservation Leadership Award, and Christ’s most recent nonfiction book “Civil War Arkansas 1863” was recently selected as the winner of the 2013 Worthen Prize, awarded by the Central Arkansas Library System.
One hundred fifty years ago, on May 14, 1863, Benjamin F. Pearson of the 36th Iowa Infantry was on picket duty at Helena: At 8 Oc A M I was on guard mount & took 40 men 4 Corporels and 2 Seargents & went out on the picket line, things all passed of smoothly on my part of the line, there was some rebbles seen on Capt Mahons end of the line they fired on them but do not know whether they hit them or not. A number of steamers passed down early in the morning loaded with soldiers.
One hundred fifty years ago, on May 13, 1863, Captain Thomas Stevens of the 28th Wisconsin Infantry wrote home to complain about conditions in Helena:
The last 4 days have been hot – yesterday was very hot, and didn’t it start the perspiration? Water is scare & very poor. We have been compelled to use swamp water a good share of the time — & were glad to get that. I have used water here that I wouldn’t let a cow drink at home…
Highlights include: Battle of Chancellorsville; 150th Anniversary Stamps; Silas Turnbo: A Pathetic Story of the War; Civil War Trust Photography Contest; Civil War Mystery of ‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s Death.
One hundred fifty years ago, on May 8, 1863, Charles Musser of the 29th Iowa Infantry wrote home about the state of medical care at the Helena garrison: the health of the regiment is very good. Some deaths occurr occasionaly from chronic diseases. We buryed Seargeant Burroughs the other day. he died of the Camp Dysentery. he was worn down to a mere skeleton. he looked very bad for some time back. if he had been sent up the river one month ago, he would have got well, but poor fellow, he is gone now and leaves a widow and orphans to mourn his loss. there are too many that go the Same way, to the Shame of the army Surgeons.
One hundred fifty years ago, on May 7, 1863, some of the men of the 36th Iowa Infantry Regiment realized some additional benefits to labor details. From the diary of Benjamin F. Pearson:
At ½ past 6 Oc AM I went out with a detail of 50 men with axes & we felled timber out of the way of our Outer batterys, we done a big days work & killed some Squerrels by falling timber & cut one beetree & had all the honey I could eat & I got a nice bunch of Snakeroot.
One hundred fifty years ago, on May 2, 1863, Capt. Thomas Stevens of the 28th Wisconsin Infantry, wrote of preparations to defend Helena:
The fortifications about Helena are being completed & new ones are being built. Gen. Gorman having a short time since been directed to put Helena in a complete state of defense, as no more troops could be spared at present for its protection. What is coming next? we all ask. We shall see what we shall see. The negro brigade is being made useful with the spade & pickaxe (the dreill is “hard-ee” instead of Scott!) building forts &c., &c. “Long may they wave” while they help us.
Highlights Include: Ruckus on the Railroad; Civil War: The Untold Story; Lincoln Statue; Fremont Marker; Lincoln funeral Train; Molly Maguire; Silas Turnbo: Leader of a Southern Band of Men Attempts to Force a Union Man to Join His Forces.