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Lyr Add: Sultana (steamboat disaster 1865)

GUEST,Rick Pollay 24 Apr 23 - 03:01 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Apr 23 - 03:57 PM
GerryM 25 Apr 23 - 06:49 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Sultana (steamboat disaster 1865)
From: GUEST,Rick Pollay
Date: 24 Apr 23 - 03:01 PM

The Sultana
Art Thieme. Tune: "Blue Mountain Lakes”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADW7JhfmVz0

Come all you young fellows where'er you be.
Come sit down awhile and listen to me.
It's of a great riverboat, Sultana her name.
She's sunk to the bottom and death brought her fame.
        Burning down, down, down. Burning down.

It was April 24th of 1865.
On the Father of Waters, side-wheelers did glide.
From New Orleans to St. Louis town,
Right on her schedule, she glided on down.
        Burning down, down, down. Burning down.

Yes, the month it was April, the day 24.
Brave Union soldiers at Vicksburg did board,
All sick and pale but happy at last,
To be out of their prisons and goin' home fast.
        Burning down, down, down. Burning down.

They jammed into corners and slept side by side,
As they talked about home and the warm fireside,
All bound for Cairo in old Illinois,
2000 soldiers, some women and boys.
        Burning down, down, down. Burning down.

Now, the old Mississippi had risen so high,
That o'er the big valley, flood waters did rise.
Trees and houses adrift in the stream.
Could be seen only faintly in the dull moonbeams.
        Burning down, down, down. Burning down.

She landed at Memphis on April 26th,
Gave care to the wounded and care to the sick.
Some stronger soldiers unloaded her hold,
Carried out canned goods and bodies so cold.
        Burning down, down, down. Burning down.

Then all hell broke loose as on they did sail.
The boilers gave way and their bindings did fail.
As great an explosion as ever was seen
Coursed through the night 'mid yells and 'mid screams.
        Burning down, down, down. Burning down.

Now, some said the boiler just failed to hold.
Some said that the rebels torpedoed the coal.
No true explanation could ever be found,
And the moans of the 1500 still sound.
        Burning down, down, down. Burning down.

This story is true, I swear to you all.
None can deny it, no one at all.
The mighty Mississippi was destined to be
The scene of the greatest disaster at sea.
        Burning down, down, down. Burning down.

INFO: he steamboat Sultana, built for 376 passengers, was severely overcrowded at Vicksburg with over 1,953 paroled Union solder/prisoners, 22 guards from the 58th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, over 70 fare-paying cabin passengers, and 85 crew members, for a total of 2,130 people.

The U.S. Gov’t would pay US$2.75 per enlisted man and US$8 per officer to any steamboat captain to take parolees north. Knowing that Captain Mason needed money, Army Quartermaster Hatch suggested a full load of prisoners if Mason would give him a kickback. Mason quickly agreed to Hatch's offer, hoping to gain much money through this idea. Seven miles above Memphis, the patched boilers exploded and fire ensued. The official death count by the United States Customs Service was 1,547.

Arthur Thieme (1941-2015) Chicago folk musician. A host of National Public Radio's "Flea Market" radio show broadcast live from the Old Town School of Folk Music every Sunday afternoon in the mid-1980s.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Sultana (steamboat disaster 1865)
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Apr 23 - 03:57 PM

And a beloved long-time member of the Mudcat Cafe!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Sultana (steamboat disaster 1865)
From: GerryM
Date: 25 Apr 23 - 06:49 AM

Did Art record it? I can't remember seeing it on any of his albums that I have.


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