St. Paul's Episcopal Church

228 S Pitt St Alexandria

Alexandria's Civil War Hospitals/St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Alexandria Archaeology Museum
Written By Alexandria Archaeology Museum

St. Paul's Episcopal Church

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was designed by Benjamin Latrobe who had a hand in designing both the Capitol and the White House. It was taken over at least in part because of the southern sympathies of its parishioners. At the time of the Civil War, all churches were to say prayers for President Lincoln during Sunday services. The story goes that one day the minister at St. Paul's did not and was dragged from his pulpit by Union officers attending the service. As he was being taken out of the church, many of his parishioners (primarily ladies since most of the men had gone off to join the Confederate Army) tried to stop the Union soldiers by beating them with their prayer books. Cooler heads eventually prevailed, and the minister was soon released. However, after this incident, the church was closed for the duration of the war. In June 1862, federal authorities converted the church for use as a hospital. St. Paul’s had a 120-bed capacity and more than 600 people were treated there by year’s end. When the war ended, the church was returned to the St. Paul’s vestry, which noted damage to the pews, gas fixtures, plaster, fencing and other property. The congregation of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was established in 1809 and subsequently hired the noted architect Latrobe to design a new building to accommodate its growing congregation. Masons with the Alexandria-Washington Masonic Lodge laid the cornerstone on June 21,1817. St. Paul’s, is considered an excellent example of early 19th-century Gothic Revival architecture and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church
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Alexandria's Civil War Hospitals

St. Paul's Episcopal Church

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