St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Alexandria

Posted on February 9, 2012 by


St. Paul's Episcopal Church, during Federal occupation, 1862

UPDATE: For those who don’t already know… this posted just a bit earlier than I had planned. Be sure to check-out the reason why I actually started down the trail with this post… showing my personal connections to it, and possibly to the event

On Feb. 9, 1862, the Rev. Kensey Johns Stewart was arrested by Union officers after failing to offer a prayer for the President during the height of the Civil War. A melee occurred in the sanctuary as the congregation attempted to defend its minister. On that same day, a warning was issued to “females and others,” threatening arrest for offensive remarks and demonstrations—prompted, no doubt, by the actions of several St. Paul’s ladies, including one who is said to have dropped her Prayer Book down from the gallery onto the head of an offending officer.

On June 28, 1862, St. Paul’s was seized and used as a hospital for Federal forces until the spring of 1865. It was at the Appomatox Courthouse, home of a St. Paul’s parishioner, Wilmer McLean, that Robert E. Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865.