An early and particularly notorious incident was the arrest of St. Paul’s interim minister, the Rev. Dr. K. J. Stewart, in the sanctuary on February 9, 1862, by Union troops who attended with the stated purpose of provoking an incident. During the Litany, Dr. Stewart was ordered by an attending Union officer to say the Prayer for the President of the United States that Dr. Stewart had omitted without saying any other prayer in its place. Dr. Stewart proceeded without paying any attention to the interruption; but a captain and six of his soldiers, who were present in the congregation to provoke an incident, drew their swords and pistols, strode into the chancel, seized the clergyman while he was still kneeling, held pistols to his head, and forced him out of the church, and through the streets, just as he was, in his surplice and stole, and committed him to the guard-house of the 8th Illinois Cavalry. Dr. Stewart was soon released, but was not allowed to continue to officiate at services. Immediately thereafter, the St. Paul’s sanctuary was closed and was used for the duration of the War as a hospital for the wounded.
Members with Southern sympathies from St. Paul’s, and also members from Christ Church, continued to meet in the St. Paul’s lecture hall until it too was closed in 1863 and also used as a hospital until the end of the War in 1865. When the church regained possession of its buildings in May 1865, they had suffered extensive damage. One month later, on June 23, 1865, the vestry submitted to the Federal occupation force a statement of charges for repairs to restore the church to its former condition. The church was not reimbursed until 1912 for these expenses.
IMHO, the most amazing portion of the story is that it took the church nearly 50 years to be reimbursed for repairs after the Civil War.