Jenkins Death Recalls Sultana
Ship Tragedy in
Union Soldiers Crowded on Board
Total of 1,338 Lost Lives
The death of Dr.
Samuel W. Jenkins, survivor of the sinking of the Sultana, at his
home in Bakewell
Thursday, recalled to memories of a few old-timers the story of
steamer whose destruction cost 1,338 lives. Dr. Jenkins was 84 and
was spared in his
youth to tell the tale of the Sultana.
The boat, loaded
with 1,990 persons, including about 1,200 paroled Union soldiers,
sank in the
the disaster and
yet chronicles of was scarcely mention it - if at all, the Associated
There was nothing
glamorous about the disaster - no brave men charging into
cannon, no rebel
yells and no waving flags. It was just death without the tinsel of
steamer either blew up or turned over from weight of its passengers.
Anyway its human
cargo was thrown into the mad
and women drowned.
Acts of congress
and snatches of history in documents of the "war of rebellion"
disaster. The prisoners were paroled by the Confederates in the
river and 1,900
persons were loaded aboard. Some documents say there were
herding so many men on one little ship.
But she started
north and up the river she went down. Experts examined pieces of
her boiler and
testified as to causes of the disaster. The men who would have known
what happened were
dead - victims of the river. The secretary of war ordered an
One record says a
captain was responsible for the large number of passengers and
places blame on another Union officer. There were court martials.
An ensign from the
U.S.S. Ironclad Essex testified Union soldiers at
fired on him and
his crew when they sought to save drowning soldiers. Other
the ensign's report was not true. There were charges and
but somehow the story of the Sultana died down.
The funeral of Dr.
Jenkins was held at the Soddy Congregational church yesterday.
Dr. A. L.
DeJarnette officiating, assisted by the Reverend W. O. Peeples. Interment
was in Varner
Submitted by Recs Jenkins