Friday, April 24, 2015

Tribute to Union "Unknown Soldier" at Cahaba Federal Prison

 Tribute to the lone unknown Union soldier still buried at Cahaba,
 site of  a federal prison during the War Between the States, was paid 
Thursday by the April 1865 Society as part of the
 150th anniversary of the Battle of Selma.
While a wreath was laid at the soldier's grave, the ceremony
 at Cahaba Federal Prison also memorialized the 150 Union soldiers 
who lost their lives there and those who died shortly after the war 
on their way back home while aboard the steamship Sultana.
  This country's worst maritime disaster occurred April 27, 1865,
 on the Mississippi River near Memphis when boilers exploded,
 killing 1600 of the 2600 men on the overcrowded ship.
 Of those, 680 were former Cahaba prisoners.
While prison conditions were harsh, particularly with flooding and vermin, 
Cahaba's fatality rate of less than 5 percent was attributed to good artesian
 The overall death rate for southern prisons was 15 percent 
and for Union prisons, 12 percent. Historians estimate that
 more than 8,000 Union soldiers may have been housed
 in the unfinished cotton warehouse at Cahaba through the war years.  
Sources: Memories of Prisoners of War (Interned at Cahaba Federal Prison)
 compiled by John Lundquist, Cahaba Federal Prison, compiled by John Lundquist
 and Cahaba Prison and The Sultana Disaster by William O. Bryant


Julie said...

Man's inhumanity ...

Thank you for this post. I know little about the details of your Civil War, but can fully understand the need for some to never forget.

The details of the over-crowded boat are criminal.

Thank you

William Kendall said...

Very fitting of re-enactors to come up and pay tribute in this way. The ship disaster does come up in the histories of the war I've read.... how catastrophic, considering that it was over.