February 21, 1863
---As the Indianola posts itself at the junction of the Red River with the Mississippi, Col. Ellet and his crew on the transport Era No. 5 crawls slowly upriver towards Vicksburg. At one point, they are attacked by two Rebel cannon on shore---and although 36 rounds are fired at the ship, only one hits a cotton bale and bounces off. The Era No. 5 arrives at a Union wharf just south of Vicksburg, in safety.
—Today, on the high seas the commerce raider CSS Alabama overhauls and captures two Yankee merchant vessels — the bark Olive Jane and the ship Golden Eagle — and burns them at sea.
—The New York Times publishes an editorial about reports of conflict and ill-will between black troops and white troops in the Department of the Gulf (HQ in New Orleans). Note the incipient racism in the Times ‘ prescription for solving the ill-will. It is interesting to us, in the 21st Century, perhaps, to see the ingrained racist assumptions about African-Americans and their characteristics and even genetic dispositions — assumptions that appear to be universal amongst all white people, even the enlightened anti-slavery folks of the Northeast:
Our New-Orleans correspondent confirms the rumors which have been current as to difficulties between the white and black regiments at Ship Island and Baton Rouge, in the Department of the Gulf. We see no reason why this state of things should be allowed to spring up. White and black troops should not be brigaded together or stationed together. The Emancipation Proclamation specified the use to which black troops should be primarily put, when raised, as “garrisoning forts and positions;” and there are forts enough now in our hands in the Gulf Department to furnish duty for ten times the number of black troops we have there. As we advance up the river, too, there will be a continual demand for post garrisons. When the sickly weather comes on, in the Gulf and on the river, our while soldiers will be glad enough to have this work taken off their hands by the acclimated negroes; and there will be no quarreling for precedence in the duty.
We think it would be far better to employ in this kind of service the few negro troops we have, and not put them to active field duty at present. We need not doubt that Col. HIGRINSON’s black battalion exhibited all the “fiery energy” which he claimed for them; but the greater part of the black men of the South will require a great deal of discipline and training before their fiery energy can be relied on in the field of battle. The historical antecedents of the negro in this country are of anything but the fiery or energetic style. Time may bring forth trails of character that have been dormant for generations, but it will require time to bring them forth. Garrison duty, with occasional skirmishes, will furnish an excellent means of training, to begin with.
—In today’s issue of Harper’s Weekly, we find these bon mots of humor in a feature called “Humors of the Day” on page 115—which include some real groaners:
"My affairs tend downward," as the oyster said when about to be swallowed.
Why is a windy orator like a whale?—Because he often rises to spout.
TOO CANDID BY HALF.
As Tom and his wife were disputing one day
Of their personal traits, in a bantering way,
Quoth she, "Though my wit you disparage,
I'm certain, dear husband, our friends will attest
That, compared with your own, my judgment is best!"
Quoth Torn, "So they said at our marriage!"
"I'll bring a suit for my bill!" said an enraged tailor to a dandy who refused to pay him. "Do, my dear fellow," replied the imperturbable swell, pointing to his threadbare clothes, "that's just what I want."
"I haven't another word to say, Sir; I never dispute with fools." "No," was the reply, "you are very sure to agree with them."
A coffin to bury the Dead Sea.
The saucer into which the cup of misery overflowed.
A night-cap to fit the head of a river.
The match which kindled the fire of love.
A pair of spectacles to suit the eyes of Justice.
A remedy to cure the deafness in the ears of corn.
The broom with which the storm swept over the sea.
Why is an Israelite named William Solomon similar to a public festival?
Because he is a jubilee (Jew Billy).