The greatest maritime disaster in American history. The Sultana Disaster Museum tells the story of the explosion and sinking of the steamboat Sultana 10 miles north of Memphis on April 27, 1865, where over 1,800 of the Sultana's 2,300 passengers were killed. Most of the passengers were paroled Union soldiers just released from Andersonville and Cahaba Confederate prison camps.
With a legal capacity of only 376, the Sultana was dangerously overloaded. The US government had contracted with the Sultana to transport these former prisoners of war back to their homes in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and other states. The paroled soldiers had been severely weakened by their incarceration and associated illnesses.
An eight-minute film familiarizes visitors with who, what and where of the disaster. Graphics and artifacts give an insight into what led to the event. A 14-foot model of the Sultana is an iconic focus for the exhibit. A wall of 1,800 names gives insight to those who lived or died.
- Outside Memphis