The Delta Cultural Center will host their annual Battle of Helena commemoration on July 4 to mark the 152nd anniversary of the Confederate attack on the Union garrison.

The Delta Cultural Center will host their annual Battle of Helena commemoration on July 4 to mark the 152nd anniversary of the Confederate attack on the Union garrison.

The commemoration will consist of several activities throughout the day, including the annual "First Light Party" atop Battery C at 4:30 a.m., artillery demonstrations in Fort Curtis from 9 a.m. until noon, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans will host a living history from 9 a.m. until noon at Confederate Memorial Park located at the intersection of Beech and Elm streets across from Fort Curtis.

The annual "First Light Party" is an opportunity for history buffs to witness first hand the lighting conditions when the battle began at "first light" on July 4, 1863. This event takes place atop Battery C and will begin at 4:30 a.m. Delta Cultural Center historians will interpret the Battle of Helena in real time throughout the day while explaining the various interpretative elements in the park.

At 9 a.m. Delta Cultural Center living historians will wheel out their 10-pound Parrot Rifle into Fort Curtis and begin interpreting the battle for the public between cannon blasts every 15 minutes. The loud artillery explosions will last until noon, signifying the Confederate surrender/retreat. Costumed interpreters will be on hand to answer any questions about the 1863 battle.

Also from 9 until noon, living historians in the Sons of Confederate Veterans will host a living history at Confederate Memorial Park directly west of Fort Curtis. Confederate Memorial Park is the newest Civil War-themed park in Helena and will be open for visitors to enjoy Saturday morning. Costumed interpreters will explain the Confederate approach to Helena in July 1863 and the battle plan that went awry, costing the Southern army its last chance at retaking the Delta port town.

The Battle of Helena began around 4:30 a.m. on Battery D, Freedom Park, and North Helena Park as a concerted effort was taken by Confederate Generals T. Holmes to rid Helena of the Union Army and put the Confederates in a better position on the Mississippi River to help efforts in Vicksburg. While General Price did not make his attack until nearly 4 hours later, the battle was dwindling on the flanks (North Helena Park, Freedom Park, and Battery D). Because of bad timing and worn out Confederate troops, when General Price's two divisions of rebels attacked Battery C, the middle of the Union line, the Confederates were routed shortly after taking Graveyard Hill by the deadly accuracy of the Union artillery scattered throughout the city.

The July 4 events are all free and open to the public.