History Detectives: Special Investigations

Civil War Sabotage?

Episode Guide »
It was one of the worst maritime naval disasters in U.S. history. Officially, the death toll was 1,500. Unofficially, the count may have been far higher. When it mysteriously exploded on April 27, 1865, the Mississippi steamboat USS Sultana was packed with Union soldiers. The war had ended that month; at every stop more and more men clamored to board the homeward-bound ship, which blew up mid-river. However, the story of the sinking quickly vanished from the papers. What really sank the Sultana? Was it Confederate sabotage? Securing the original investigative report and its archives allows the team to forensically examine and scientifically test theories of the boilers' failure. The team also researches the stories of a Confederate agent and spy who burned Union ships on the Mississippi and was an expert in using "coal torpedoes" and a former Union inspector's deathbed revelation.




Share your thoughts, questions, and comments on "History Detectives: Special Investigations" here.

Vermont PBS educates, informs, entertains and inspires Vermonters to be lifelong learners and engaged in their community.

Upcoming and featured!

People talk about Vermont PBS!

Vermont PBS

204 Ethan Allen Avenue
Colchester, VT 05446
(802) 655-4800
© 2015 Vermont PBS
All Rights Reserved

Facebook Twitter YouTube LinkedIn