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On the Mississippi, near Memphis, the Steamboat "Sultana" explodes and up to 1,800 passengers and crew die

The river steamer "Sultana" burning on the Mississippi River, April 27, 1865, artist's impression, further detail
The Sultana had left Vicksburg two days before with more than two thousand recently released Union prisoners for which $5 each was being paid to the captain for their transport.  Three of the four boilers on the heavily overladened steamboat - her legal capacity was 376 - exploded at around two in the morning about seven miles after a midnight stop at Memphis. The vessel was destroyed and an estimated 1,800 people, mostly freed prisoners of war, perished in what is still the nation's most deadly maritime disaster.  (By John Osborne) 
Source Citation: 
Chronicles of the Great Rebellion Against the United States of America (Philadelphia, PA: A. Winch, 1867), 95.
Chester D. Berry, Loss of the Sultana and Reminiscences of Survivors: History of a Disaster (Lansing, MI: Darius D. Thorp, 1892), 14-16.