The worst maritime disaster in the United States happened 149 years ago today when the steamboat SS Sultana with over 2000 souls embarked: exploded, burned and sank in the Mississippi River about 8 miles north of Memphis Tennessee. The boat's passengers included over 2000 Union Army soldiers who had just been paroled from Confederate Prisoner of War Camps in Andersonville and Cahawba. It is estimated that 1700 of these emaciated survivors perished this day when the ship's boilers exploded and sent the burning hulk of the ship drifting down the flooding river.
An unrelated documentary about the loss of Sultana
I found this interesting and had forgotten the Sultana until I was researching the Ohio Regiments in the Civil War two weeks ago and found that many of the final musters showed that the soldiers had perished with the Sultana after being captured by the Confederacy. It is hard to believe how they sank out of history with barely a ripple.
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