Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 11, 1863

March 11, 1863

---The long-delayed naval expedition in the Yazoo River Delta in Mississippi finally reaches the confluence of the Tallahatchie and Yalobusha rivers, on a sharp bend of the river near Greenwood, Mississippi.  The newly-built Fort Pemberton---a fortification stretched across the narrow isthmus of a sharp loop in the river---blocks the Federal progress downstream.  In command of the 2,000 Rebel troops there is Gen. Loring.  Brig. Gen. Ross and two regiments of his Federal troops are landed upstream, but they are unable to get close to the Southern earthworks because they have no artillery that can compete with the fort’s large guns.  The USS Chillicothe steams downstream in two instances during the day to exchange shots with the fort, but the Yankees can find no weaknesses in the Southern position, and the ironclad sustains fairly solid damage in the attempt.  The Yankees bide their time, trying to find a way to get access to the Rebel fort at this strong point.

---In New York City, George Templeton Strong writes in his journal about a strange series of high-level endorsements for a patent-medicine purveyor.  As a principal member of the governing body of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, Strong and his colleagues have a deep interest in all medical issues that involves the government and the army:

A curious correspondence sent us by the Surgeon-General.  Autograph letter from the President to him, asking him to employ in the hospitals a certain quack named Forsha, proprietor of a certain oil which acts like magic on all wounds and contusions.  Another letter to the same effect signed by Blair, Bates, Welles, and other of the Cabinet, and a copy of the Surgeon-General’s reply, stating that Forsha is an ignorant pretender, and that if he wants his panacea used by the Medical Bureau he must reveal its ingredients.  This does not indicate a profound wisdom in our national councils.

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