The Sultana Disaster – Today In Southern History

27 April 1865  

On this date in 1865…

The steamboat Sultana while carrying 2,427 passengers (mostly paroled Federal POWs on their way home) exploded in the Mississippi River off Memphis. Up to 1,800 passengers were killed in what became the greatest maritime disaster in United States history. Because of the changing course of the Mississippi, the remains of the Sultana were only recently discovered blow a soybean field in Arkansas.

Other Years:

  • 1584 – Sir Walter Raleigh dispatched an expedition led by Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe to explore the eastern coast of North America. 
  • 1861 – Virginia invited the Confederate States’ government to establish Richmond as their capital. 
  • 1861 – Colonel Thomas J. Jackson was assigned to command at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.
  • 1861 – West Virginia illegally began an attempt to secede from Virginia after Virginia seceded from the Union.
  • 1942 – A massive tornado destroyed Pryor, Oklahoma, killing more than 100 and injuring more than 300 people.
  • 1978 – A cooling-tower collapse in a coal-fired power plant at Willow Island, West Virginia, killed 51 workers.

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