Most terrible steamboat disaster in history, probably, was the loss of the Sultana in 1865. Some 1,700 returning Union veterans died—yet the tragedy got very few headlines.
Late in April of 1865, the Mississippi stood at flood stage. Four years of war had ruined many levees and dikes, and in the lower reaches of the river the foaming water was over the banks for miles. But in the towns and cities of the lower valley the high water was only an incident, and the dominant feeling was one of relief. For the Civil War at last was ended.
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