David H. Helms

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David H. Helms
US-MOH-1862.png
Born (1838-09-21)September 21, 1838
Dearborn County, Indiana
Died July 7, 1921(1921-07-07) (aged 82)
Kansas
Place of burial Silver Lake Cemetery, Silver Lake, Kansas
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1862 - 1865
Rank First Sergeant
Unit Company B, 83rd Indiana Infantry
Battles/wars American Civil War
 • Siege of Vicksburg
Awards Medal of Honor

David H. Helms (1838 – 1921) was a Union Army soldier during the American Civil War. He received the Medal of Honor for gallantry during the Siege of Vicksburg on May 22, 1863.

Helms joined the army from Indiana in August 1862, and was discharged in June 1865.[1]

Union assault[edit]

On May 22, 1863, General Ulysses S. Grant ordered an assault on the Confederate heights at Vicksburg, Mississippi. The plan called for a storming party of volunteers to build a bridge across a moat and plant scaling ladders against the enemy embankment in advance of the main attack. The volunteers knew the odds were against survival and the mission was called, in nineteenth century vernacular, a "forlorn hope". Only single men were accepted as volunteers and even then, twice as many men as needed came forward and were turned away. The assault began in the early morning following a naval bombardment. The Union soldiers came under enemy fire immediately and were pinned down in the ditch they were to cross. Despite repeated attacks by the main Union body, the men of the forlorn hope were unable to retreat until nightfall. Of the 150 men in the storming party, nearly half were killed. Seventy-nine of the survivors were awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

“For gallantry in the charge of the volunteer storming party on 22 May 1863.”

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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