Historic Markers Across Alabama

Burning of Downtown / St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Marker ID:  
Location: of Lauderdale St and Alabama Ave, Selma, AL
County: Dallas
Coordinates: N 32° 24.453    W 087° 01.257
  32.40755    -87.02095
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMNT89


"Of all the nights of my experience, this is most like the horrors of war — a captured city burning at night, a victorious army advancing, and a demoralized one retreating. ...this Sunday night nearly gone, will be remembered. If there is a merciful God in the heavens. He must be looking down upon this scene in pity." ~E.N. Gilpin 3rd Iowa Cavalry, Winslow's Brigade, Upton's Division, Selma, April 2, 1865.

The city's defensive lines have been breached, the air filled with dust and with darkness falling, the street of Selma quickly fell into chaos. Small violent clashes occurred on the downtown streets as scattered groups of Confederates, trying to escape the now fire lit city, encountered advancing Federals. On this Sunday St. Paul's Rector, the Rev. James Ticknor, was wounded and the Senior Warden, Robert Philpott, was killed defending the City. Union troops burned the original church the night of April 2, 1865 in a conflagration that destroyed about ten city blocks. In the first 24 hours after the battle reports of robbery, arson, theft, and murder were common. By Monday night most citizens that asked for protection received it from Selma's Provost Commander General Edward Winslow and the looting subsided. Now the real destruction began.

Erected by the April 1865 Society.

End of Burning of Downtown / St. Paul's Episcopal Church