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Shells Thick as Hail5583 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Civil War Helena Arks
July 6th.. 1863
Dear Parents
I will Inform you with Pleasure that I am well at the Present & I Hope that when this Reaches you that it May find you all well I Had a light chill yesterday But I feel all O. K. to day.

Ere this time I Suppose you Have the News of the Battle at Helena I will tell you that Gens Price Holmes and Marmaduke made a Dash at us on the Morning of the 4th.. Inst 5 Brigades of Infty & Considerably Cavalry When I a wake up the long Roll was Sounding & Every things to arms The Pickets was fighting and By Daylight our Forces were all in Positions our artillery all Ready & the Drove our Pickets in to the Rifle Pits where our men were & the the Fight was Most Sanguine & the massed there Force one the Center & that Confined the Fighting on the Bluffs.

All this time our Hill Batterys ten or twelve Pieces in the Bottom & the Gun Boat Tyler with 8 or ten guns were throwing Shells Amongst them thick as Hail But they Filled up there Fallen Ranks with Fresh Troops & about 8 oclock they made a Charge on one of our Batterys first on the Rifle Pits they Carried the Rifle Pits & Come a Head on the Battery & took the Battery the Rebles was now in Fare view & our Artillery just mowed them & our Infty Had a Cross fire on them & they could not Stand it & Part of them Run for life But the most of them Surrendered I See them Comeing over our Rifle Pits & take our Battery But they had not time to Spike the Cannons for the Shells & Bullets were to Hot for them

We took 960 Prisners with 3 Cols & 3 or 4 other Field Oficers & Sent them up the River in 2 Hours after they were taken We Have Over 400 of there wounded Here in town I talked with Several of there wounded & they Said that Gen Holmes was Killed He was Chief Commander & Price next & then Marmeduke the 2nd.. Arks was on the Extreme left Supporting a Battery our Battery Done great Execution.

We was not in Gun Shot of them But Could See them Fighting all the time & there Balls whistled all arround us & Amongst us one Ball wounded 2 Darkies in the Arm not Dangerous.

I Have no time to give you any Detail now But will as Soon as I can.

I was Over apart of the Battle Field yesterday & Indeed it was an Awfull Sight where the Charged on one of our Batterys I Stood & Counted 35 Dead Rebels in about 20 Paces Square But not Being verry well I did not go over But a Small Space of the Battle ground & I Counted 78 Dead Rebels & what little Space I was Over we Had Details out yesterday all Day Burrying there Dead an Officer Come to me this morning for a nother Detail to Bury more Dead today He Said that that they Had Burried about 400 of there Dead all Ready from Best Accounts they Have lost in Killed wounded & Prisners about 2000 & on Our Side we have lost in Killed wounded not Over one Hundred & we lost 4 or 5 Prisners of our Pickets

You will think that unresponsable to tell Such a one sided fight But wait for Official Reports the 36th.. Iowa was on the Extreme right & lost 3 Prisners & one Kiled on Picket. Co A lost none we Recd.. news this morning By 2 Boats that Vicksburg Surrendered on the 4th.. at ten Oclock Hurrah for Such Celebrations as at Vicksburg & Helena on 4th.. July 1863 we can whip ten to one of the Rebels. Here now you can See what we can Do Behind our works
I will write again as soon as I can & tell you all Huzza for the Old Flag of our Union

We Had one gunboat Here in the fight & now we Have 3 good ones So let them Come
I am sorrow to Inform you that Will Holmes is verry Sick in Hospital I see Him 2 days ago & not Heard from Him since, Case Critical Have Bin the Rifle Pits for the last 48 Hours
Capt Elder & 2nd.. Lieut are not Able for Duty Which throw all tasks on me & 1st.. Leiut
I have no Room for my Name But I will Scribble Down Here Old Dempsey Newton Scott

Note: by Newton Robert Scott, Private, Company A, of the 36th Infantry, Iowa Volunteers.


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