One hundred fifty years ago, on April 24, 1863, Charles O. Musser of the 29th Iowa Infantry wrote home about events in Helena:
It is reported that there is a large body of rebels advanceing onto this town, but as to the truht of the report, we cannot Vouch. we are building batteries here for their reception. in case they should give us a visit, we will be prepared for them. at any rate, our cavalry Scouts came across a body of rebel cavalry up toward the Saint Francis River the other day. [Our scouts] had a skirmish with them, routing them, killing two and wounding Several, and captured the horses of the fallen rebels.
The rebels fire on our pickets often, once in awhile killing one. a few days ago, they fired on some and Shot one poor fellow through both thighs, dangerously wounding him. i have not heard Since wether he is dead or not, but most likely he is. a person that is any ways dangerously wounded down here is almost sure to die. the climate is Such that a wound does not heal quick. of those that were wounded at the fight for fort pemberton, ver few live now. i seen a good many that had only flesh wounds in the leggs and arms, and they would have to be amputated, and they died after all. one poor fellow … had his left arm Shot off by a cannon ball just below the elbow. he had it taken off first at the elbow, and in a short time inflammation took place, and the arm had to be cut off again, close up to the Shoulder … in a couple of days he died. i saw several cases where the wounds were only Slight in the first place, and they would die of them. there is but little hopes where a person is struck by the fragments of Shell. they Scarcely ever recover.