Friday, April 27, 2012

A Major Maritime Disaster...!

This story from is really sad on so many levels!

Imagine surviving the horror of the Civil War and then being caught up in a disaster of this magnitude! Just breaks my heart, let me tell ya.

Apr 27, 1865:
Union soldiers die in steamship explosion

The steamboat Sultana explodes on the Mississippi River near Memphis, killing 1,700 passengers including many discharged Union soldiers.

The Sultana was launched from Cincinnati in 1863. The boat was 260 feet long and had an authorized capacity of 376 passengers and crew. It was soon employed to carry troops and supplies along the lower Mississippi River.

On April 25, 1865, the Sultana left New Orleans with 100 passengers. It stopped at Vicksburg, Mississippi, for repair of a leaky boiler. R. G. Taylor, the boilermaker on the ship, advised Captain J. Cass Mason that two sheets on the boiler had to be replaced, but Mason ordered Taylor to simply patch the plates until the ship reached St. Louis. Mason was part owner of the riverboat, and he and the other owners were anxious to pick up discharged Union prisoners at Vicksburg. The federal government promised to pay $5 for each enlisted man and $10 for each officer delivered to the North. Such a contract could pay huge dividends, and Mason convinced local military authorities to pick up the entire contingent despite the presence of two other steamboats at Vicksburg.

When the Sultana left Vicksburg, it carried 2,100 troops and 200 civilians, more than six times its capacity. On the evening of April 26, the ship stopped at Memphis before cruising across the river to pick up coal in Arkansas. As it steamed up the river above Memphis, a thunderous explosion tore through the boat. Metal and steam from the boilers killed hundreds, and hundreds more were thrown from the boat into the chilly waters of the river. The Mississippi was already at flood stage, and the Sultana had only one lifeboat and a few life preservers. Only 600 people survived the explosion. A board of inquiry later determined the cause to be insufficient water in the boiler--overcrowding was not listed as a cause. The Sultana accident is still the largest maritime disaster in U.S. history.

Let's have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. I'm having Mom's house siding and patio pressure washed and we don't want to get wet!


Sixbears said...

Greed triumphed over safety, an all to common thing.

George said...

Reminds me of the tragedy of the titantic, recently highlighted due to its 100 year anniversary.
It is sad for sure. All those soldiers so glad to be alive and so eager to finally get home.
Money so often is the driving force of so much.
Thanks for sharing this story. I had not heard of it.

Ben in Texas said...

Well, Again Sir, You bring History to life. I don't recall ever hearing that bit of War History.


BBC said...

Lots of folks died on early steamships, often when they were racing each other and stressing the boilers to much.

Anonymous said...

Wow, just wow! Just think of the shock waves that would cause in modern times.

Don't get too ambitious with that power washer. My BIL offered to clean the mold growing on his sisters (not my wife) house with his power washer. Well, it worked, but it also took quite a bit of the protective roof shingle aggregate with it. The next time it rained - roof leaks galore!

Boy, did that cause a family ruckus! Just be careful is all I'm saying - you have a great day.

linda m said...

Thanks for another great story that I hadn't heard before. Be careful with the pressure washing. Don't want anyone or anything to get injured.

JOJO said...

I had never heard this story before. Thanks for sharing. Just a story about more greed. What a shame.
Yesterday was wet enough here so your kitchen sounds great.

Dizzy-Dick said...

I heard this story before but learned a lot of new things from your post. Takes on a whole new aspect. Like it was said above, greed causes many misfortunes.

HermitJim said...

Hey Sixbears...
Happens all the time, even now days!

Some things just never change.

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey George...
That is another reason it was so sad! Those returning troops, surviving battle, dying that way!

I really appreciate you coming by today!

Hey Ben...
Glad you enjoyed the post! History is so full of these kinds of stories!

Thanks, buddy, for coming by today!

Hey BBC...
Along with better means of transportation comes bigger safety concerns...or should!

Money does get in the way, I reckon!

Thanks for coming by this morning!

Hey Anon 7:29...
That's one reason I'm having everything done by a pro!

I just don't want the hassle and responsibility, ya know?

Thanks for coming over!

Hey Linda...
Today I'm just the spectator! More fun that way, and easier on me! Except on the pocket book!

I really am glad you could come by today!

Hey JoJo...
Spring cleaning outside! Quite a chore, but it has to be done!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming over today!

Hey Dizzy...
I'm more than happy to add to your knowledge of this event!

Thanks, buddy, for dropping by!