Pickets of the First Louisiana “Native Guard” Guarding the New Orleans, Opelousas, and Great Western Railroad. (March 7, 1863 issue of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.)
Scenes in Louisiana.
Our artist has sent some sketches which illustrate, in a striking degree, some novel phases of life, both military and civil, which the present struggle is involved. The fact of black regiments being actively employed is not an novelty, since they have been for some time part of the British military system, which, with its usual commonsense, avails itself of every aid in the pursuit of its objects. Our Artist says that among the cypress swamps of Louisiana Negro soldiers are invaluable, and accompanies his sketch of the pickets of the first Louisiana native troops, guarding the New Orleans, hope Eleusis and Great Western Railroad, with some remarks which we quote:
“In this swamp in the wilderness the ‘ soldiers’ are eminently useful. The melancholy solitude, with the spectral cypress trees, which seem to stand in silent despair, like nature’s sentinels waving in the air wreathes of grey funereal moss, to warn all human beings of latent pestilence around, though unendurable to our soldiers of the north, seems an elysium to these sable soldiers, for the swampy forest has no horrors to them. Impervious to miasma, they only see the home of the coon, the possum and the copperhead, so that with ‘de gun that Massa Sam gib ‘em’ they have around them all the essential elements of colored happiness, except ladies’ society.”