The Sultana Disaster

 

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THE LAST EXCHANGE. CAMP FISK, FOUR MILE BRIDGE (VICKSBURG), APRIL. 1865

At the close of the war, Camp Fisk was established near Vicksburg for the general ex-change of prisoners captured during the operations of the armies in the West. Here we see one of the daily meetings of the officers on both sides for this purpose. The Federal transport Sultana was busily engaged during the spring of 1865 in carrying the released Federal soldiers from Vicksburg to the North on their way to their homes. In the smaller picture we see her at Helena wharf loaded with the last shipment of paroled Union soldiers to the number of 2,134. The same day, April 27, 1865, she arrived at Memphis. While steaming along some 90 miles above that

point, her boilers suddenly exploded and she sunk almost immediately. During the war the levees on both sides of the river had been so demolished that all the bottom lands were inundated, and at this point were covered with water to a width of 50 miles. But few of the ill-fated Union soldiers managed to save their lives. About 1,900 of them perished. A survivor relates that while clinging to a log with three other men, one committed suicide rather than endure the agony caused by the icy water. At Memphis the Federal authorities gathered all the floating bodies they could. Many were found as far below the scene of the disaster as Helena.

THE ILL-FATED SULTANA, HELENA, ARKANSAS, APRIL 27, 1865

Prisoner Exchange
Sultana

 

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Flying Artillery

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Confederate Artillery

The Sultana Disaster

Last Confederates to Surrender

Last Confederates to Surrender

 

 

 


 

 

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