*Includes contemporary accounts of the disasters
*Includes online resources and bibliographies for further reading
*Includes a table of contents
The Sultana is a historical footnote because of the Civil War, but it was also intimately tied to the war. Although Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Ulysses Grant at Appomattox was not technically the end of the Civil War, it took one of the last remaining Confederate armies out of the field. In fact, just the day before the disaster, as the Sultana was sailing up the Mississippi River to her rendezvous with destiny, Union Army soldiers cornered and killed Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth.
Perhaps the cruelest irony of the disaster is that the Sultana was packed full of men who had survived every conceivable trial and tribulation of the war, from wounds and sicknesses to being prisoners. Having lost hundreds of thousands, America was almost numb to the loss of a couple of thousand more, especially when many of the dead were soldiers themselves, and in a sense, it was left for future generations to try to unravel what went wrong and to pay tribute to the men who died on that dark night.