The steamship Sultana was grossly overloaded when this picture was taken the day before the ship’s boiler exploded in the Mississippi River above Memphis on April 27, 1865. An estimated 1,800 people died as the ship sank. Most  were paroled Union soldiers, former Confederate prisoners during the Civil War, being sent upriver prior to release. The Sultana disaster remains the United States’ worst maritime tragedy of all time. It was particularly tragic for 174 families in Sevier, Knox and Blount counties whose men were serving in the Third Tennessee Cavalry.  At least six were from the Boyds Creek Valley-Seymour area; they are named in this book.

–Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

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