Titanic & Sultana: April Tragedies

There is no doubt that the Titanic deserves its tragic place in history. The historical account of the Titanic is riveting and ripe with stories about the famous and rich enjoying the luxurious, open decks above, to the poor immigrants below deck fleeing Europe to seek a better life in America. Ship passengers and crew were all looking forward to their journey’s end when tragedy appeared as a thief in the night in the form of an iceberg.

On that silent night, 100 years ago, the Titanic steamed quickly through the ice field before ramming into one of Nature’s colossal sculptures. Her rivets snapped; her thick, iron plates buckled; and the whole behemoth shuttered. The mighty ship went down but was never forgotten. Some passengers and crew faced the end with courage; others desired to be brave, but their legs failed them as they ran away to save their lives. That fateful night, when the Titanic slipped beneath the sea on its journey to the bottom, the sea was as smooth as a mill’s pond.

In the latter part of April, in the year of 1865, an overloaded steamboat named Sultana carried recently released Northern prisoners of war back to their home up river. To make a long story short, the Sultana’s boiler blew up and the steamboat exploded & sunk in the swollen Mississippi River. Seventeen hundred (1700) men lost their lives that night. Because it happened at the end of the Civil War, the incident became lost in history. Timing is every thing in life and history. With 625,000 soldiers lost during the Civil War and the recent assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the Sultana Tragedy became absorbed into the total horror of a vicious war and the national mourning of a martyred President.

While I am drawn to the tragic story of the Titanic and agree with its mythical place in our hearts, I find it interesting how some tragedies become famous while others are lost in the sands of time.  garland dale


 DEATH on the DARK RIVER The Story of the Sultana Disaster in 1865

This entry was posted in History, In Memory, War and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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