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The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Selma

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SELMA, a city of Alabama, capital of Dallas co., on the right bank of the Alabama river, 95 m. below Montgomery by the course of the river, and about 44 m. W. in a direct line; pop. in 1870, 6,484, of whom 3,660 were colored (by a more recent census, 8,112). In very dry seasons it is at the head of steamboat navigation. It stands on an elevated plateau, which terminates abruptly in a steep bluff forming the bank of the river. Six railroads converge at Selma: the Selma, Rome, and Dalton, the Alabama Central, the Western, the Selma and Gulf, the New Orleans and Selma, and the Selma, Marion, and Memphis. The last three are only partially constructed, and work upon them has been suspended. It has two banks, a cotton factory, an oil mill, a sash and blind factory, a car-wheel factory, three railroad and machine shops, a planing mill, a steam cotton press, six cotton warehouses, and three grist mills. Two daily and three weekly newspapers are published. There are 13 churches, viz.: 3 Presbyterian, 3 Methodist, 2 Baptist, 2 Protestant Episcopal, 1 Cumberland Presbyterian, 1 Congregationalist, and 1 Roman Catholic. There are two public and five private schools.—Selma was an important military and naval depot of the confederate government during the civil war. An arsenal, a navy yard, nitre works, and founderies for shot and shell were established, giving employment to about 1,800 men. The place was strongly fortified, but the works were carried by assault by the federal forces under Maj. Gen. J. H. Wilson, April 2, 1865, after a short but severe contest with the garrison, under Lieut. Gen. Forrest.