November 17, 2010
On April 27, 1865, just ten miles north of Memphis, Tennessee, the worst maritime disaster in American history occurred. Following the close of the Civil War, approximately 2,400 former Union prisoners of war were being sent home up the Mississippi River via the steamboat Sultana. The ship was overloaded, being built for only 376 passengers. During the early morning hours of April 27, the boiler exploded, killing approximately 1,800 on board. The ship burned to the water line and floated to the Arkansas side, where today it lies buried beneath a soybean field near Marion (Crittenden County).