In the early hours of April 27, 1865, an extremely overcrowded steamboat, the Sultana
, exploded, killing an estimated 1,600 passengers. It's legal capacity was 376.
Reports are mixed as to why it happened, but the accepted theory was that because it was overcrowded, it listed to and fro as it navigated the curves of the Mississippi and a poorly repaired boiler overheated when water flowed out of it into another. It remains the worst maritime disaster to have occurred within the United States.
Commissioned by the War Department to carry troops home, the Sultana
disaster is notable because of the sheer number of recently released Prisoners of War it was carrying. Many of the soldiers were weak and ill due to abuses they suffered while held in those camps.Today's Question: Most of the passengers aboard the Sultana were Union soldiers recently released from Confederate prison camps. Name the largest and most (in)famous Confederate prisoner of war camp from the Civil War.
Labels: Civil War, Mississippi river steamboat, Sultana