The Sultana Association of Descendants and Friends

was founded to keep alive the memories of the men, women and children who were on the Sultana that fateful night of April 27, 1865.


The Sultana disaster is the worst maritime disaster in American history, yet few people have ever heard of it.


On April 27, 1865, thousands of Union soldiers who survived horrendous prison conditions during the Civil War were released and on their way home, traveling down the Mississippi on the now infamous Sultana, a steamboat designed to carry just a few hundred.


At 1:00 in the morning, when the Sultana was outside of Memphis, Tennessee, the steamboat exploded. Men and women were badly burnt from the explosion and thrown into the icy water. Those who survived fought against the strong currents to survive. Despite their efforts and those who tried to save them – including Confederate soldiers and families – almost 1,200 souls were lost.


The event is marked by tragedy and greed, but also by selflessness and humanity. It not only represents the worst maritime disaster in American history, but it also represents one of the most inspiring examples of human nature in the history of mankind. The lessons and the memories of those involved deserve their place in history.

Find out more about the Sultana disaster.


Founded in 1987, the mission of The Sultana Association of Descendants and Friends is simple: to spread the word about the Sultana disaster and those involved that fateful April, to reach out to descendants, and to offer an opportunity for everyone to learn and become involved.


Whether you’re a descendant or you want to help keep this event and the memories of those involved alive, we welcome you. Learn more about this incredible association, our goals, and how you can contribute to this historical event.

Find out more about the Association.

Get Involved


Whether you’re an ancestor or not, we would love to hear from you and have you join our amazing, historical organization. So, if you have a passion for the Sultana, the Civil War, or simply a love for history and want to keep it alive for future generations, please contact us, join us, or donate today! Donations will be used to maintain this website and to purchase items to donate to the Sultana museum. 


© 2021 by The Sultana Association. 

The Sultana Association of Descendants and Friends is not a 501(c)(3) organization but accepts donations to help fund the website and the meetings and also to purchase items in the name of the association to the Sultana Disaster Museum.

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