The Explosion of the Steamer “Sultana” = The Pension File of Angeline F. Gamble

Angeline F. Thompson married Moses Gamble on May 28, 1852.

That’s what her pension file says.

Her pension file is unlike the others that I have posted. Usually the soldier gets a pension, and then his widow applies for it.

In this case, Moses Gamble was never able to apply for a pension after the Civil War, because he was killed in the explosion of the steamer “Sultana” on April 27, 1865. There is much good info available about the “Sultana” and what led up to its explosion. You can do an internet search and see what the scholars have to say. What I know is this: Moses had been a prisoner of war, and was released and on his way home when he was lost in the explosion. That’s the term the pension file uses: “lost”. Not killed, or wounded, or missing in action.


Angeline applied for a pension based on his service. Moses was admitted as a private on September 18, 1862, to Company A, 3rd Tennessee Cavalry Volunteers. I suppose the crops had been gathered, and he joined the service of the U.S. to supplement his income. Other members of his extended family had joined.

He left two children, Alexander Breckinridge Gamble and Elizabeth Louisa Gamble. Angeline received the pension on August 4, 1866, which was made retroactive to the date of the explosion of the steamer “Sultana”. She was awarded $8 per month.

Those of you who know math, and how to apply it to practical life, will see that the younger child, Elizabeth Louisa Gamble, was born 8 1/2 months after her father mustered in.

Angeline never remarried. She would have lost her pension.

Good night, Gamble family. We’re thinking of you.


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