It has been 153 years since the death of Corporal James K. Estes on April 27, 1865 while he was aboard the Steamboat Sultana. The Sultana, a sidewheel riverboat hired by the Union Army to transport paroled prisoners of war to their homes and freedom, exploded about seven miles north of Memphis, Tennessee at 2:00 a.m. on April 27. The resulting carnage makes this the worst maritime disaster ever, even eclipsing the deaths caused by the sinking of the Titanic. Until May 6, 2018 there had been no grave or memorial to James K. Estes, except the memorial to all those from Tennessee who lost their lives on the Sultana that stands in Mount Olive Cemetery in Knoxville, Tennessee. But due to a lot of hard work and superb planning, a memorial was erected at Estes Cemetery in Coalfield, Tennessee honoring the sacrifices of Corporal James K. Estes in his defense of the United States during the Civil War. Several different groups worked together to make the memorial celebration a great success.
The following are a series of photographs of the Memorial Ceremony.
The Ceremony honoring CPL Estes featured a 21 gun salute, a cannon salute, an informative talk by Norman Shaw of the Sultana Descendants Association, a performance by Linda Moss Mines of the Tennessee Historical Commission, an invocation by Jill Jones-Lazuka the Tennessee DAR Chaplain, and presentation of the flag to the daughters of Maude Estes.
It has taken a century and a half to give the honor so richly deserved to James K. Estes. He survived several battles, capture by the Confederates, confinement in Cahaba Prison, and lost his life on an overcrowded riverboat on the way home from the Civil War. We owe a great deal to this young farmer from Morgan County, Tennessee.
I’ll see you on down the road.
Uncle Thereisno Justice