The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Helena (Arkansas)

HELENA, a town and the capital of Phillips co., Arkansas, on the right bank of the Mississippi river, about 100 m. E. by S. of Little Rock, and 80 m. below Memphis, Tenn.; pop. in 1870, 2,249, of whom 1,109 were colored. It is the terminus of the Arkansas Central, the Helena and Iron Mountain, and the Mobile and Northwestern railroads, is rapidly improving, and is an important commercial point. It contains a court house, a jail, two daily and three weekly newspapers, four schools, and seven churches.—In the summer of 1863 Helena was held by a Union force of about 4,000, commanded by Gen. Prentiss, strongly intrenched, the river also being commanded by a gunboat. On July 4 an unsuccessful attempt to seize the place was made by a confederate force of about 7,600, under Gen. Holmes. The confederate loss in the engagement was officially reported as 173 killed, 687 wounded, and 776 missing, in all 1,636; but Gen. Prentiss reported that he had buried 300 confederate dead and made 1,100 prisoners. The entire loss of the Union force did not exceed 250 in killed and wounded, with no prisoners.