Battle of Selma Facts

April 2, 1865

Battle of Selma facts, including dates, location, casualties, leaders, who won, and more interesting facts you might not know. This fact sheet provides a quick overview of the battle and is for kids doing research and students preparing for the AP U.S. History (APUSH) exam.

Portrait of James H. Wilson

Major General James H. Wilson’s Union victory at the Battle of Selma happened on the same day that Confederate General Robert E. Lee evacuated Richmond. [Wikimedia Commons]


  • April 2, 1865


  • Dallas County, near Selma, Alabama


  • Wilson’s Raid

Principal Union commander(s):

  • Major General James H. Wilson

Principal Confederate commander(s):

  • Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest

Union forces engaged:

  • Cavalry Corps, Military Division of the Mississippi

Confederate forces engaged:

  • Forrest’s Cavalry Corps,
  • State militia
  • Selma citizens

Number of Union soldiers engaged:

  • Roughly 9,000

Number of Confederate soldiers engaged:

  • Roughly 4,000

Estimated Union casualties:

  • 319 (42 killed, 270 wounded, 7 missing)

Estimated Confederate casualties:

  • 2,700, most of whom were captured


  • Union victory


After capturing Selma, the Federals destroyed the city’s arsenal, foundries, and iron works, depriving the South of one of its major manufacturing centers.

After the Battle of Selma, much of Selma also was destroyed by fire, which some sources claim was set by fleeing Confederates. Others contend that Yankee soldiers looted and then burned Selma.

Under other circumstances, the fall of Selma would have been a considerable loss for the Confederacy, but roughly 700 miles to the northeast, Robert E. Lee evacuated Richmond and Petersburg that same night. Only a few days later, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House, effectively ending the war.