The Sultana (1865): Catastrophe On The Mississippi River



Accident type: Explosion
Vessel involved: Sultana
Location: Mississippi River
Date: April 27, 1865
Casualties: 1,800 people died


Name: Sultana
Built in: 1863
Flag: America
Type/class: side-wheel steamboat
Tonnage: 1,719 tons
Length: 260 feet
Beam: 42 feet

Sultana was a Mississippi River side-wheel steamboat.  The wooden steamboat was constructed in 1863 by the John Litherbury Boatyard in Cincinnati and intended for the lower Mississippi cotton trade. The 260-feet-long, wooden-hulled Sultana was licensed to carry 376 passengers. During the Civil War, it made regular trips between New Orleans and St. Louis, often transporting troops and supplies for the federal government.

On April 27, 1865, an estimated 1,800 of her 2,427 people—many of them Union soldiers recently freed from Confederate prison camps— perished after the three of the boat’s four boilers exploded and she burned to the waterline and sank in the Mississippi River.  The sinking of the Sultana was the deadliest maritime disaster in United States history.

Source: Wikipedia