Ships and Vessels

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Entries - Entry Category: Ships and Vessels - Starting with S

SS Ouachita Victory

The SS Ouachita Victory was a Victory ship launched on May 8, 1945, from Wilmington, California and named for Ouachita College (now Ouachita Baptist University). The title of SS stands for “steam ship” and should not be confused with USS, which signifies it as a “United States Ship.” Although it was used during World War II, the Ouachita was not associated with the United States Navy. The California Shipbuilding Corporation built the SS Ouachita Victory. The ship was 455 feet long and was composed of three decks. It could travel at a speed of fifteen knots. Lightly armed with small guns, Victory ships were never meant for battle. Their primary function was to transport cargo and troops. Only three victory …

Steamboats (Civil War)

Steamboats during the Civil War won little glamour but played a critical role. With rivers serving as the lifeblood of the Confederacy, steamboats permitted the rapid movement of heavy cargo up and down the waterways. Both Union and Confederate forces in Arkansas relied on steamboats to move troops and supplies, with Little Rock (Pulaski County), Helena (Phillips County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), and DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) serving as supply centers and shipping hubs. Essentially, steamboats made the war effort possible. By the start of the Civil War, the great majority of Arkansas’s commerce traveled by steamboat. Flatboats and keelboats had once moved agricultural products downriver to New Orleans, Louisiana, but neither type of boat could easily make the return …


The Sultana steamboat disaster in 1865, at the end of the Civil War, has been called America’s worst maritime disaster. More people died in the sinking of the riverboat Sultana than on the Titanic. However, for a nation that had just emerged from war and was still reeling from the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the estimated loss of up to 1,800 soldiers returning home on the Mississippi River was scarcely covered in the national news. The remains of the steamboat are believed to lie buried in Arkansas. Those aboard the boat were mostly Union soldiers from Midwestern states such as Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. Having been taken prisoners of war, they were sent to the notoriously overcrowded Confederate prisons …