Helena Reenactment, Cleburne Memorial

2nd Arkansas (CSA) Reenactors assembled on the porch of an historic home across from Ft. Curtis

2nd Arkansas (CSA) Reenactors assembled on the porch of an historic home across from Ft. Curtis


On Saturday, March 14, I went to Helena, Arkansas for two events.

The first was a memorial service to Major General Pat Cleburne, CSA.  He was one of seven Confederate Generals who came from Helena during the Civil War.  He was a daring commander and got the moniker “The Stonewall of the West.”

The second event was a “tactical,” which is a reenactment where only the reenactors participate. There were no spectators.

This was some of the best fighting I have been a part of in the quite a few months.  We had to climb up a precipitous hill infested with dead kudzu vines, while firing at Yanks in a flanking move that finally moved the Yanks off Battery “C”.

Vernon Dutton

This is a picture of me after we had secured Battery “C”. Our Battalion of the Confederate Force was composed of three companies. Our company was designated the 3rd company.  It was made up mostly of the 2nd Arkansas.  Most of its members are from Pine Bluff, AR or southeast Arkansas. I was privileged that they let me join them for the day’s events.

After taking Battery “C” we marched down – and then up – some very steep hills arriving above Ft. Curtis in the middle of Helena.   The fort has been faithfully rebuilt to its 1864 scale.

Here we drove another Yankee line that had rallied to block our attack. This is where all the spectators were assembled and the ‘tactical’ evolved into a full-fledged spectator reenactment. There must have been about 250 spectators and they got to see a doozy of a fight!

Our Battalion drove the Yanks off the surrounding hills and into Ft. Curtis.  When we tried to take Ft. Curtis, we were shot to pieces and our dead and wounded lined the slopes leading up to the fort’s walls.

The featured picture above is of our company across the street from Ft. Curtis on the porch of a historical home that existed in 1864.  Below is a photo of me after the reenactment event.

Vernon Dutton in Helena, Ark

I really have to thank Guy Taylor and the 2nd Arkansas for letting me join them for the event; Ron Kelly for organizing the reenactment; Randy Freeman for taking these photos, and to the SCV, UDC and Ladies in Black for the memorial to General Cleburne.

About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
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