Worse than SS Titanic, SS Sultana was a Mississippi River steamboat paddlewheeler that exploded on April 27, 1865 in the greatest maritime disaster in United States history. An estimated 1,600 of Sultana's 2,400 passengers were killed when three of the ship's four boilers exploded and Sultana sank near Memphis, Tennessee. This disaster was overshadowed in the press by other recent events. President Lincoln's assassin, was killed the day before. The previous week ended the Civil War.
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Photograph of dedication of USS Sultana monument in Knoxville's Mount Olive Baptist Church burial ground on July 4, 1916, on the occasion of the 3rd U.S. Cavalry reunion
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Photograph of dedication of USS Sultana monument in Knoxville's Mount Olive Baptist Church burial ground on July 4, 1916, on the occasion of the 3rd U.S. Cavalry reunion. Some of my family was on the Sultana.
Inside the box was a small glass bottle containing some dried red Georgia clay from Andersonville Prison. The handwritten note attached to the bottle states, “A reminder of my stay at Andersonville Wm. L.” Additionally, the box contained a hand-carved, scrimshaw ivory figure of an alligator, apparently kept to remind Lugenbeal of his miraculous escape from the burning vessel.
Alligator, Box Contained, Glass Bottles
The box was once owned by William Lugenbeal, 135th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, who wrote in his memoirs in the Chester Berry book that he survived the disaster by killing the Sultana’s mascot alligator with a bayonet and then floated to safety in the pet’s sturdy wooden crate. Known as the “alligator killer,” the top of Lugenbeal’s curio box is adorned with an etching of an alligator and contains the words “Wm. Lugenbeal saved by a alligator
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Ann Annis, a native if Liverpool, England move to the states after her first 2 husbands who were ship captains died at sea. She was on board the Sultana with her 3rd husband Harvey and 7 year old daughter Belle. She was the only survivor if the 3 and one of only a couple of women survivors. The bodies of her family were never found.
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Anne Annis, Sultana Survivor, Passenger. She lost her husband and youngest daughter. Read her story and others at http://sultana.cdi.astateweb.org/articles/single/16/anne-annis-story-of-survival
SS Sultana, a steamship that regularly traveled from St. Louis to New Orleans, was commissioned by the war department to transport just-released Union prisoners of war back home. The ship was legally registered to carry a maximum of less than 400 people, but with the government paying $5 per soldier, 2,300 soldiers were packed in so tightly that they could barely stand. At 2 a.m., April 27, three of the ship’s boilers exploded sending passenger, most of who couldn't swim to their deaths.
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April 27, 1865: America's worst-ever maritime disaster occurs when the steamboat Sultana explodes and sinks in the Mississippi River just north of Memphis. Of her 2100 passengers, just 400 survive.
Top 10 Famous Shipwrecks
Ann Annis - Notable Women Ancestors
Sultana Disaster Memorial to the Sultana Disaster in Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee. On 27 April 1865 the SS Sultana exploded just north of Memphis, Tennessee on the Mississippi River. Of the 2400 people onboard, 1700 died. Most of the passengers were newly freed Union POWs heading home. At 2am the boilers exploded.
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Memorial to the Sultana Disaster in Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee. On 27 April 1865 the SS Sultana exploded just north of Memphis, Tennessee on the Mississippi River. Of the 2400 people onboard, 1700 died. Most of the passengers were newly freed Union POWs heading home. At 2am the boilers exploded.
Caleb Rule was 24 years old at the time of the sinking of the Sultana. He survived due to being a great swimmer and lived to become a preacher at several churches in Sevier and Blount counties. He lived to the age of 72. His 20 year old brother John who could not swim drown in the icey waters and his body was never found.
24 Years, Church, Icey Waters, 20 Years Old
Namesake - Caleb Rule was 24 years old at the time of the sinking of the Sultana. He survived due to being a great swimmer and lived to become a preacher at several churches in Sevier and Blount counties. He lived to the age of 72. His 20 year old brother John who could not swim drown in the icey waters and his body was never found.
According to accounts, the captain of the boat kept an alligator in the hull. After the explosion, soldier William Lugenbeal killed the alligator in order to use the crate that held it as a flotation device. Later, he made a box from the wood and etched an image of the reptile and the following words: "Save by a Alligator"
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The 376 passenger vessel loaded over 2,200 people on board who were eager to get home after the fighting. A multiple boiler explosion killed an estimated 1,800 passengers and crew after midnight in the icy Mississippi River near Memphis TN in the Spring of 1865. 75 men from the Michigan 18th Infantry organized in Hillsdale Michigan lost their lives on this night.
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S.S. Sultana monument at the Hillsdale County Courthouse in Hillsdale, Michigan, commemorates one of the worst maritime disasters in US history. The Sultana was a steam ship that was bringing soldiers home at the end of the Civil War in the spring of 1865. The 376 passenger vessel was overloaded with 2,200 people. A boiler explosion killed an estimated 1,800 passengers and crew in the Mississippi River near Memphis, TN. 75 men from the Michigan 18th Infantry, organized in Hillsdale, were killed.
There is a monument on the grounds of the Hillsdale County Courthouse in Hillsdale Michigan that remembers the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history and it's link to Hillsdale. The S.S. Sultana was a steam ship that was bringing soldiers home at the end of the American Civil War.
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At 2:00 AM, three of the four boilers on the ship exploded. The ship began to burn, and finally sank, with a loss of approximately 1,800 souls.
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The SS Sultana, a Mississippi River paddlewheel steamboat, packed with 2,400 passengers, left Memphis and headed north. Most of the passengers were union troops who had just been released from duty and were headed home. The capacity of the ship was 376. This severe overcrowding made the vessel top heavy and unstable.
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Painting of SS Sultana, a Mississippi River paddlewheel steamboat. It was packed with 2,400 passengers, most were union soldiers just released from duty and headed home. (Sad to survive the horrid war & die in a boat disaster!!)The capacity of the ship was 376 & this severe overcrowding made the vessel top heavy, unstable, not to mention the boilers exploding. Loss of life on this vessel was the worst maritime disaster in US history, but it got lost in history & everyone thinks the Titanic was.
Lyrics of Love and Lore: Sultana
Captain J. Walter Elliott, Wabash College Class of 1858, survived the Confederate prison camp at Andersonville only to witness the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history aboard the S.S. Sultana.