Battle of Selma, Alabama
A view of Summerfield Road
in Selma. The Union attack
came up the road and broke
through the Confederate lines
in this vicinity. - Battle of Selma, Alabama - Battle of Selma, Alabama
Battle of Selma, Alabama
Restored earthworks near the Alabama River stand
as reminders of the fierce fighting that took place at
Selma on April 2, 1865.
Surviving Fortifications
The mound visible here is
part of a small surviving
section of the original Selma
Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest
The Battle of Selma was the
last major fight for the famed
Confederate general. His face
now looks out over the graves
of the dead.
Grave of Rev. Arthur Small
Rev. Small, the pastor of the
city's Presbyterian Church
was among those killed in the
Battle of Selma.
The Battle of Selma - Selma, Alabama
Gen. Forrest's Last Major Battle
On April 2, 1865, the Battle of Selma ended
all hopes that Confederate troops might save
the vital Alabama city.

The fate of Selma had really been decided
the day before at the
Battle of Ebenezer
Church, when Lieutenant General Nathan
Bedford Forrest was unable to hold back the
oncoming Union army of Major General
James H. Wilson. Defeated by overwhelming
numbers, despite the fact that he was
fighting on ground of his own choosing,
Forrest fell back into the massive ring of
fortifications that enclosed the important
military manufacturing center.

Forrest knew that he would not be able to
hold Selma. His force was too small to
properly man the city's extensive line of
earthworks, batteries and forts. Even after
ordering out every available man and boy in
the city, he was still able to space a soldier
only every 10 or 12 feet along the defenses.

By fighting, though, the famed general hoped
to be able to allow more time for the
evacuation or destruction of vital military
property stockpiled in the city. The job was
only partially complete when Wilson's army of
more than 9,000 men appeared on the
northern side of the city.

Unsure of where the Federals would attack,
Forrest was forced to keep his men spread
out. Wilson complicated matters even more
by approaching along two main roads. While
part of his army appeared in force along the
main road leading into the city, the main
attack was formed on the Summerfield Road
which entered Selma from the northwest.

Cannon fire erupted as the two forces ignited
the battle, striking not only fortifications and
soldiers, but the homes of civilians as well.
After a heated fight, the main prong of
Wilson's attack pierced the Confederate lines
on the Summerfield Road.

Demonstrating great personal courage,
despite the saber wound he had received at
Ebenezer Church the day before, Forrest
fought desperately to stem the tide of the
Union attack. Falling back to an inner line of
partially completed fortifications, he kept up
the fight until it was obvious that all was lost.
Left with no choice but to withdraw, he cut his
way out of Selma near the Alabama River.
His commanding officer, Lieutenant General
RIchard Taylor, had also just escaped on the
last train out of the city.

The fall of Selma was a major disaster for
the Confederate cause. Losses in the battle
were estimated at 319 for the Federals and
around 2,700 for the Confederates, most of
whom were captured. Among the dead was
Rev. Arthur Small, the pastor of the city's
Presbyterian Church.

By taking Selma, General Wilson deprived
the Confederacy of one of its last great
manufacturing centers. His troops spent
days destroying the arsenal, machine shops,
foundries, C.S. Navy facilities, nitre works
and other factories of the city.
The main battlefield at Selma has not been
preserved and is now covered by residential
areas. A good place to learn more is at the
Old Depot Museum downtown, where visitors
can see artifacts from the battle and learn
more about how it impacted the city.

monument to General Forest and the
graves of defenders, including Rev. Small,
can be seen at Live Oak Cemetery on King
Street. A small area of earthworks has been
reconstructed at Battlefield Park, which is
open to the public during the annual Battle of
Selma reenactment.

Next year's reenactment will take place on
the weekend of April 25-28, 2013.
click here to learn about the annual

Many of Selma's beautiful antebellum homes
survived the post-battle destruction. Among
these is magnificent Sturdivant Hall, a 6,000
square foot mansion built in 1853. One of the
most stunning architectural landmarks in
Alabama, Sturdivant Hall is now a museum
that is open to the public Tuesday through
Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The house
is located at 713 Mabry Street.

To learn more about the nearby Battle of Ebenezer
Church, please follow this link:
Relic of the Battle of Selma
Now preserved at the Old
Depot Museum, this ball
struck a house during the
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Copyright 2011 & 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Page Created: 2011
Last Update: August 23, 2012
Battlefields in Alabama