HELENA, AR— On May 24th-26th, Helena commemorated the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Helena by hosting the most comprehensive re-enactment of the battle held to date. The three day event was sponsored by the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, Delta Cultural Center and Helena Advertising and Promotion Commission and included two battle re-enactments, a series of lectures, living history demonstrations, and live music performances.
The event drew two hundred re-enactors and several hundred spectators. For many, including the event organizers, this was the first battle re-enactment set directly within a city’s downtown. “Unlike most Civil War battles which took place on a battlefield outside of town, the Battle of Helena took place right in the middle of the city” said Delta Cultural Center Director Katie Harrington. “As a result, there were additional logistical issues that had to be anticipated.”
Another first for many re-enactors was the presence of the recently dedicated New Fort Curtis, a ¾ size replica earthworks fort. The fort is one of 25 sites in a plan to tell a comprehensive history of Helena during the Civil War. Other sites include Freedom Park, the first location in Arkansas designated as an Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site, and a bronze statue of Helena’s most famous confederate general, Patrick Cleburne.
Helena Advertising & Promotion Commission