Helena Plans Big Memorial Day Civil War Re-Enactment

Helena Plans Big Memorial Day Civil War Re-Enactment

The town holds a replica of Ft. Curtis where the Battle of Helena took place in 1863. This year for the first time, the city is bringing that history to life with a full scale re-enactment.
HELENA, AR (abc24.com) - May is Arkansas heritage month. Across the state, towns are celebrating what makes them unique. Helena, Arkansas has big plans.

It is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War's Battle of Helena.

The town holds a replica of Fort Curtis where the Battle of Helena took place in 1863. This year for the first time, the city is bringing that history to life with a full scale re-enactment.

"We have plans to have folks from Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas. 200 to 300 re-enactors," says Katie Harrington, director of the Delta Cultural Center.

Helena was controlled by the Union army during the Civil War. On July 4, 1863, the Confederate troops tried to re-take the city.

"It was a very brief battle. It occurred at dawn. There were some coordination issues with dawn and the timing," Harrington says. "The battle ended at 11."

The Union remained in control.

Helena residents are familiar with their history, but the rest of the state and country isn't. "It was overshadowed by a couple of other events on that date, notably Vicksburg and Gettysburg." Those battles are more widely known.

Harrington hopes the town's re-enactment will help spread the word.

"People will be able to go into campsites and interact one-on-one on with re-enactors and get a glimpse into camp life," she says. "We'll have field demonstrations with artillery. All of that is exciting. Those things make big explosions and big booms. It should be one-of-a-kind event."

The re-enactment is over Memorial Day weekend, May 24th-26th.
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