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The Titanic of the Mississippi

May 27, 2014

Most people have heard of the maritime disaster of Titanic hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic (or have at least seen the movie), but probably few know of an even bigger shipwreck that occured here in the U.S. at the end of the Civil War. On April 27, 1865, the side wheel steamer Sultana sank in the Mississippi after one of its boilers exploded. The explosion set the damaged vessel on fire and approximately 1,800 of the steamer's 2,427 pasengers perished — a larger loss of life than occurred on Titanic in 1913. Sultana was overloaded with Union soldiers who had been prisoners of war in rudimentary Confederate POW camps like Andersonville. These soldiers were on their way home after surviving the war, only to die in the waters of the Mississippi. The exact cause of the explosion is unknown, with possibilities ranging from a poorly-repaired boiler to a last act of sabotage by Confederate sympathizers. 

Now producers Mark and Mike Marshall and executive producer Sean Astin are working on a documentary film of the disaster designed to bring Sultana's story to modern audiences.  The Marshalls and Astin are leading a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to complete the documentary. You can learn more here.

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