Most of us think of the sinking of the Titanic as the biggest disaster in U.S. maritime history, but an even worse incident occurred 47 years earlier. On April 27, 1865, just eighteen days after the official end of the Civil War, the steamboat Sultana sank a few miles north of Memphis. Aboard were 2,300 just-released Union prisoners of war, along with crew and civilian passengers. Some 1,700 people died. After four long years of war, the nation was weary of death reports; furthermore, everyone was distracted by the recent assassination of President Lincoln, and the Sultana catastrophe was relegated to the back pages of the newspapers. If you'd care to learn more about this little-known chapter of our river's history, get to the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org) for a free lecture by Alicia Scott, a descendant of one of the Sultana survivors. The discussion begins at 10:30 a.m. in the museum's AT&T Foundation Multipurpose Room.
Mon., April 22, 2013
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