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Details for 2016 Annual Reunion of Sultana Descendants and Friends- Knoxville, Tennessee, April 22-23

Here’s details about this year’s annual reunion of the Association of Sultana Descendants and Friends to be held in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Friday, April 22nd, and Saturday, April 23rd.

I have booked a block of rooms for the attendees at the recently remodeled (2014) Holiday Inn at Cedar Bluff, just west of downtown on I-40/I-75.

The room rate for the Sultana Association is $99 + tax per room (normally $149 + tax). Included in the special rate is a free hot breakfast (not a Continental breakfast) for each room occupant.

For reservations you can call the hotel direct, or use the 800 number, both listed below. Be sure and mention that you are with the Sultana Association. For online reservations use the link below. Please make your reservations by April 1st.
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2016 Sultana Reunion will be held in Knoxville, TN

It’s time to notify everyone that the 2016 Sultana Reunion will be here in Knoxville, TN! The dates are Friday and Saturday, April 22nd and 23rd. Be sure to mark your calendars!

Please click here to send me an email with any questions and to reserve your spot.

For those who don’t know, our reunions for descendants and friends had it’s first reunion, informally, at the beautiful Sultana monument in South Knox County in 1987 followed by our first formal reunion in 1988, 28 reunions ago!

We then met in Knoxville for the first 14 years before holding reunions at sites related to the Sultana story. Our first “away” reunion was in Vicksburg, MS, our first of 3 eventual reunions at that location. Some other cities where we held our annual gatherings are Memphis, Chattanooga, and Franklin in Tennessee; Mansfield and Cincinnati in Ohio; Athens, AL; and, of course, in Marion, AR, this year.
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Pam Newhouse interviewed on NPR

Pam Newhouse, editor of the Sultana Remembered was interviewed by a NPR radio reporter out of Cincinnati. It will air on Monday, April 27th, the 150th anniversary of the disaster, on WVXU during the morning news show. You can also listen online at

Annual Sultana Reunion, Marion, Arkansas, April 23-27th, 2015

The 28th annual Sultana Reunion will be held in Marion, Arkansas this year since the City of Marion is sponsoring the reunion.  Marion is about a 20 minute Interstate drive from Memphis, west of the Mississippi River.  
If you are interested in attending, go to “Contact” in the menu bar above to request more detailed information.  Please provide your name, e-mail address, the name of your Sultana ancestor if you are a descendant and check the box that you would like more information. >> Read More…

PBS show the History Detectives features the Sultana in season premiere

On July 1st, 2014 at 9pm Eastern Time, PBS will air the History Detectives Special Investigation about the Sultana.  Pam Newhouse (Editor and descendant of Private Adam Schneider, who perished on the Sultana) was filmed and interviewed for this episode.  Tune in on Tuesday, July 1st on PBS!

Sultana Documentary Production Underway!

As an update to the Association concerning the Sultana documentary project, we want to again extend our profound thanks for your donations and support that helped our Kickstarter campaign not only reach but exceed its goal. The final tally was 930 backers with a total pledged of $108,156., which was 144% of our goal.
In the next ten and one-half months we will finish the documentary in time for its world premiere which will take place Monday night, April 27, 2015 at a major theater in Memphis. We want to encourage everyone to plan your reunion weekend to include staying an extra day or two if you are able in order to attend the premiere. There were several reasons for selecting that date. First, it will mark exactly one hundred and fifty years since the disaster. We even thought about having the premiere at 2:00 that morning but didn’t feel like being that literal would be appreciated! Second, having the premiere on a week night will hopefully help us get the theater we want and the documentary deserves (you’ll really like it). We’ll keep you posted on that development. And third, we have always enjoyed and appreciated the flow of the reunion weekend events and want to preserve that structure for this very special Sesquicentennial reunion. While we realize the extra day or two may be a hardship for those who can’t plan an extended time away from home or work, we hope the premiere might be the perfect excuse to take that extra time to enjoy the Marion/Memphis area while remembering the Sultana. >> Read More…

The Fate of The Sultana

This poem was written by Sultana Descendant and WW II veteran Clinton Riddle of Sweetwater, Tennessee and was read at our Vicksburg Reunion. Clinton’s ancestors on the Sultana were:

John M. D. Riddle Pvt., Co. C, 3RD TN Cav. Great Grandfather Died
Miles H. Riddle Pvt., Co. C, 3RD TN Cav. Great Uncle Died
John R. Dixon Pvt. Co. C, 3RD TN Cav. Cousin Died
James C. Robertson Pvt. Co. I, 3RD TN Cav. Great Uncle Survived
James E. White Cpl. Co. D, 11TH. TN Cav. Cousin Survived
Francis Riddle Pvt. Co. L, 3RD TN Cav. Distant Cousin Died

The Fate of The Sultana

Four years of the Civil War had ended,
The South had met with loss and defeat.
The Union soldiers were now going home,
Walking skeletons on sore feet.

Surviving Cahaba or Andersonville prisons,
While many others gave their life for all,
Before reaching their loved ones and friends,
When the death Angel did soon make the call.

They were brought to Vicksburg to go home,
Very happy as they stepped on the boat,
Too many were crowded on the little steamer,
The weight was so great it could hardly float.

In Vicksburg a boiler was repaired.
Leaving there they had all they could tow,
It was hard going up the flooded river,
The paddle wheel was turning very slow.

They had reached the island called Hen and Chickens,
The current was strong, the load was great,
The boat suddenly exploded with a loud crash,
It had never given any trouble until this date.

The Sultana was blown apart by the force,
The sleeping ones were cast high and killed,
Many were drown in the cold swift water,
Some were scalded and others were chilled.

The wreck lies under water in the old channel,
A number of loved ones are in the watery grave,
So many of our soldiers are still uncounted for,
While others happy future and lives they gave.

Today we are gathered here to pay them honor,
To those who were willing to go and fight,
We will always remember the great disaster,
April 27, 1865 at 2:00 o’clock in the night.

By Clinton E. Riddle