Battle of Selma Facts

April 2, 1865

Key facts about the Battle of Selma.

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.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Battle of Selma Facts
  • Date April 2, 1865
  • Author
  • Keywords battle of selma, american civil war, james h. wilson, nathan bedford forrest
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date March 31, 2023
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update May 6, 2022

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