Sultana: Death on the Mississippi
It is estimated the Sultana took on at least 2,000 Union soldiers at Vicksburg.
Captain James Cass Mason did not compile a manifest as the soldiers boarded, instead deciding to make one as the boat moved north. A manifest has never been found.
With repairs to the boiler completed, the Sultana departed Vicksburg, arriving at Memphis on the evening of April 26, 1865. There, the soldiers and crew learned of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. The news cast a gloom over the entire boat.
The boat’s engineer reported the boilers had developed new leaks. Mason ordered repairs. The Sultana then left Memphis, crossing over to a coaling station at Helena, Ark., to take on fuel.
At last, the Sultana was ready to continue up river. Mason would land at Cairo, where the soldiers would debark and be provided transportation to their Midwestern homes.