July 4, 1863
The Battle of Helena was fought. The Confederate attack on the Mississippi River town of Helena (Phillips County) was, for the size of the forces engaged (nearly 12,000), as desperate a fight as any in the war, with repeated assaults on heavily fortified positions similar to the fighting that was to be seen in 1864 in General Ulysses Grant’s overland campaign in Virginia and General William T. Sherman’s Atlanta, Georgia, campaign. It was the Confederates’ last major offensive in Arkansas and the last Confederate attempt to seize a potential choke point on the Mississippi. The Battle of Helena was fought the day the Confederate garrison at Vicksburg, Mississippi, surrendered to Grant and the day after the Battle of Gettysburg.