Arlington Antebellum Homes and Gardens
331 Cotton Ave, SW
Birmingham, AL 35211
Arlington is a fine example of Greek revival architecture dating
from the 1840s. In March of 1865, Union General James
Wilson arrived with over 13,000 troops, using the home as his
One hundred and fifty years ago, in mid-March 1865, as the Confederate States of America struggled through its final days, Union Major General James Harrison Wilson began a month-long cavalry raid that laid waste to much of the productive capacity of Alabama and Georgia.
In a war where cavalry troops were under-utilized, frequently mixed with infantry troops, or simply relegated to hauling supplies and delivering mail, Wilson's approach to warfare was innovative: he used his 13,000 horsemen, without any infantry troops, in lightning quick raids against the productive centers of the Deep South. Much of the area from central Mississippi to central Georgia remained relatively unscathed, even in the late stages of the Civil War (1861-65). Consequently, cities like Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, and Columbus, Georgia, survived as vital shipping points and major producers of Confederate war supplies. Wilson's aim was twofold: to destroy this critical supply link and to prevent the region from becoming the site of a Confederate last stand.
Using original photographs and maps, Jerry Desmond, the Director of the Birmingham History Center, will present a broad summary of Wilson's Raid and its tragic consequences for Central Alabama.