Coming across a cache of Civil War era copies of Harper’s Weekly some time ago, several of the old (almost a century and a half) jokes caught my attention. One of them was about Egypt; well, sort of. Here goes the latest joke from Harper’s Weekly for November 9, 1861, just before a war that was anything but a joke for American history.

Why ought not the people to starve in the deserts of Egypt?

On account of the sandwiches (sand which is) there.

But how came the sandwiches there?

Because Ham was there and his descendants mustered and bred (mustard and bread).

It helps to be a bible trivia expert for that one, but the next joke (from March 15, 1862) seems right up to date, given Haliburton’s infamous drilling oil pipelines to nowhere.

Why do our soldiers need no barbers?

Because they are regularly shaved by the Government contractors.