Civil War Sabotage?
When the SS Sultana exploded on April 27, 1865, more than 1,800 died —outnumbering the death toll from the Titanic disaster. Why, then, do so few people know about one of the worst maritime disasters in U.S. history? And what caused the explosion that took so many lives?
The Civil War was finally over, and most of the passengers aboard that night were Union soldiers returning to their families from Confederate prison camps. But the number of people on board far exceeded the ship’s capacity—they barely had room to stand.
At 2:00 a.m. a mysterious explosion below deck set the Sultana ablaze and catapulted passengers into the frigid Mississippi.
Can the History Detectives solve the mysterious explosion of the SS Sultana? Was it an act of Confederate sabotage? Faulty machinery? Dangerous conditions?
Meeting with descendants of rebel boat burners and Sultana survivors, uncovering government records, and hunting for the wreck site, the team reveals a tale of incompetence, bribery, politics and nepotism that leads all the way to President Lincoln and the White House.
- Also with Wes Cowan Great Mexican War Posters Is this an advertisement for a film made by an eyewitness to the Mexican Revolution?
- Also with Wes Cowan Jim Thorpe Ticket Is this ticket evidence of a chapter of Thorpe's career forgotten by history: as a professional basketball player?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi United Empire Loyalist What can this family tree reveal about Americans who fought for the British in the Revolutionary War?
- Related Investigation Copperhead Cane How did this cane inspire a fiery political movement that threatened Lincoln's presidency?
- Related Investigation Vicksburg Map Could this mysterious map have been at the front lines of one of the most explosive battles of the Civil War?
- Also in Civil War: 1850-1877 Calhoun Books Are these the books of the famed intellectual architect of the Confederacy?
This is a place for opinions, comments, questions and discussion; a place where viewers of History Detectives can express their points of view and connect with others who value history. We ask that posters be polite and respectful of all opinions. History Detectives reserves the right to delete comments that don’t conform to this conduct. We will not respond to every post, but will do our best to answer specific questions, or address an error.