Crawford, Cohen, Boozman, Cotton, Introduce Bill to Mint Coin Memorializing Sultana Disaster

Mar 25, 2024
Press
Uncategorized

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Sara Robertson (Sara.Robertson2@mail.house.gov)

Crawford, Cohen, Boozman, Cotton, Introduce Bill to Mint Coin Memorializing Sultana Disaster

3/25/2024

Washington  Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-01) and Steve Cohen (TN-09), along with U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR), introduced legislation to create a commemorative coin in remembrance of the greatest maritime disaster in U.S. history – the sinking of the Sultana Steamboat. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the coin  will help fund the preservation, maintenance, and display of artifacts at the Sultana Disaster Museum in Marion, Arkansas, as well as assist in the construction of a new and larger facility.

“The tragedy of the Sultana is one that is often forgotten about, but it serves as an important reminder of our past and the lives that were lost. This bill helps fund the efforts of those at the Sultana Disaster Museum who have dedicated their time to telling this story and keeping the memory of the victims alive. I’m proud to work with my friend Steve Cohen to bring awareness about what happened so long ago, during that horrible time of extreme fracture and violence, where brother fought against brother. I hope that Steve and my working together, across the aisle, for this shared purpose can show Americans that brighter days are always in front of us,” said Crawford.

“The Sultana disaster and loss of life in the Mississippi River within sight of Memphis in 1865 deserves the commemoration this coin represents. Americans should know of the sacrifice made by so many in the tragic days as the Civil War finally drew to an end, as well as the senseless negligence that caused it. I’m pleased to work with my friend Rick Crawford, who represents the Crittenden County graveyard of the historic steamship northwest of Memphis, and hope our efforts bring further attention to this tragic footnote in American history,” said Cohen.

“As community support for the Sultana Disaster Museum continues to grow, we’re carrying the momentum in Congress by introducing this legislation to preserve the history of this tragedy and honor the victims and survivors with a commemorative coin. I’m proud to join this initiative to ensure both are forever remembered,” said Boozman.

“This coin will continue to honor the victims, and raise awareness about one of the worst tragedies in our military’s history. It is an important piece of history that I’m proud to join the Arkansas delegation in remembering,” said Cotton.

The Sultana was a 260-foot-long wooden steamboat that exploded, burned, and sank into the Mississippi River on April 27, 1865. This tragedy claimed the lives of more than 1,000 passengers. Most of the victims were released Union prisoners of war who were returning to the north after the end of the Civil War.

Efforts to preserve artifacts from the Sultana began in 1982 when the remains of the Sultana were rediscovered. In 2011, Arkansas State University hosted the first public exhibit of relics from the disaster. A small museum opened in Marion to house these pieces of history and, after persistent efforts from the community and the Sultana Historical Preservation Society, ground was broken in November 2022 on a new multi-million dollar facility to host this educational and economic resource. 

This legislation would authorize the U.S. Department of Treasury to mint in 2027 $5 gold coins, $1 silver coins and half-dollar coins.

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