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Downtown in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Church of the Epiphany

Civil War to Civil Rights

 

—Downtown Heritage Trail —

 
The Church of the Epiphany Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, April 4, 2010
1. The Church of the Epiphany Marker
Inscription.
“Carpets, cushions, and hymnbooks were packed away ... ambulances began to stop ... lastly come the surgeons....”
Margaret Leech, Reveille in Washington.

Church spires dominated the skyline of the city of Washington at the time of the Civil War, symbolizing the importance of houses of worship in the religious, social and political life of the nation’s capital. While Washington still claims an extraordinary number of historic downtown churches, the Church of the Epiphany is the only original pre-Civil War downtown church building to survive. Its walls were witness to the suffering of the wounded soldiers for whom it was a temporary hospital. Here, as in other churches, planks were laid on top of the pews to make a platform for the beds.

Episcopalians founded the Church of the Epiphany in 1842. By the time of the Civil War, it was located in a residential neighborhood of strong Souther sympathies. Washington, although the capital of the Unio, was a Southern city, carved originally from the states of Maryland and Virginia. Many Washington residents had family and friends in the South, and brothers and sisters and husbands and wives and wives often held conflicting loyalties. Even First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln had three brothers fighting for the Confederacy. Northerners accused
The Church of the Epiphany Marker: photo on reverse: image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, April 4, 2010
2. The Church of the Epiphany Marker: photo on reverse:
"Returning Union soldiers assemble on a dusty F Street in 1865, preparing for a grand march down Pennsylvania Avenue. (Library of Congress.)"
the city of being “Secesh,” short for secessionist.

At one time, Senator Jefferson Davis, who became the president of the Confederacy, lived nearby and was an Epiphany member. Senator Judah P. Benjamin, later Davis’s attorney general, and Senator Robert Toombs, who became Davis’s secretary of state, lived on then-fashionable F Street one block over from the church.

The Reverend Charles Hall, Epiphany’s rector, balanced his Southern sympathies with loyalty to the Union. He was so persuasive about his loyalty in a meeting with Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton that the latter began to attend worship services at Epiphany on a regular basis, using the former pew of Jefferson Davis. With Stanton as an example, many Union generals, too, began to attend Epiphany. President Lincoln himself came here for the funeral of General Frederick Lander of the Army of the Army of the Potomac.

[Photo captions:]

below and right
The Reverend Charles H. Hall and The Church of the Epiphany about 1860. New York Avenue Presbyterian Church is in the background. (The Church of the Epiphany.)

below and left
The 1400 block of F Street, left, in the fashionable residential neighborhood near The Church of the Epiphany. In the background is the U.S. Treasury. Future Confederate officials who lived in the area included Jefferson
The Church of the Epiphany - plaque at main entrance image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, April 4, 2010
3. The Church of the Epiphany - plaque at main entrance
Erected...A.D. 1844
Enlarged ... A.D. 1857
Rebuilt ... A.D. 1874
Randolph H. McKim Memorial
Tower & Chimes - 1922
Davis and his wife, Varina Howell, below, who attended the church, and Judah P. Benjamin, who later served as Davis’s attorney general. (Library of Congress.)

above
Southern sympathizers leave the capital for friendlier locations. (The Historical Society of Washington, D.C.)

 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number w.1.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Civil War to Civil Rights marker series.
 
Location. 38° 53.905′ N, 77° 1.822′ W. Marker is in Downtown, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on G Street, NW, west of 13th Street, NW, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1317 G Street, NW, Washington DC 20005, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Dorothea Dix 1802 - 1887 (a few steps from this marker); Jane Addams 1860 - 1935 (a few steps from this marker); Susan B. Anthony 1820 - 1906 (a few steps from this marker); Ida Wells-Barnett 1862 - 1921 (a few steps from this marker); W.E.B. DuBois 1868 - 1963 & Mary White Ovington 1865-1951
The Church of the Epiphany Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, April 4, 2010
4. The Church of the Epiphany Marker
visible at sidewalk, to the right of main entrance.
(within shouting distance of this marker); Luther and Charlotte Gulick (within shouting distance of this marker); Harriet Tubman circa 1820 - 1913 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Children's Hospital (about 300 feet away).
 
Regarding The Church of the Epiphany. U.S. National Register of Historic Places (1971)
 
Also see . . .  The Church of the Epiphany - history. (Submitted on April 9, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
 
Categories. Antebellum South, USChurches, Etc.Notable BuildingsNotable PersonsPoliticsWar, US Civil
 
The 1400 block of F Street image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 31, 2015
5. The 1400 block of F Street
in the fashionable residential neighborhood near the Church of the Epiphany. In the background is the U..S. Treasury. Future Confederate officials who lived in the area included Jefferson Davis and his wife Varina Howell Davis, who attended the church, and Judah Benjamin, who later served as Davis's attorney general.
Close-up of photo on marker
Jefferson Davis and Varina Howell Davis image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 31, 2015
6. Jefferson Davis and Varina Howell Davis
who attended The Church of the Epiphany.
Close-up of photo on marker
Judah Benjamin image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 31, 2015
7. Judah Benjamin
Judah Benjamin was the first Jewish U.S. Senator. Later, he became Attorney General, Secretary of War and Secretary of State in The Confederate States Government. After the Civil War, he became a barrister in England.
Close-up of photo on marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 9, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,064 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 9, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   5, 6, 7. submitted on January 7, 2016, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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