Oliver’s Prediction on when the Civil War would end

As the Union and Confederate forces prepared to do battle at Manassas in July 1861, many on both sides of the line believed it would be a short war. These expectations were soon drown in the blood of soldiers of this battlefield. However, both Confederate and Union leaders and soldiers still believed it would be a short war from a historical perspective. Six month or a year at the most was the conventional wisdom. In November of 1861, Oliver Case developed his own theory of how long the war would last. He wrote to his sister while on break from patrolling the city of Annapolis that “I do not believe that it [the war] is to be finished so soon; perhaps it may not last more than a year or a year and a half but that is as soon as I expect it will be ended.” For Oliver and his fellow soldiers of the 8th CVI, it was a waiting game to even get into the war. He penned what seemed to be the prevailing sentiment amongst the soldiers, “…we do not care how soon we go south notwithstanding we have good quarters here and much more freedom than we shall have there.”

For Private Case, the war would end in less than a year near the Harper’s Ferry Road just outside of Sharpsburg, Maryland.

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Benejah Holcomb

At the end of his letter written to his sister on October 20, 1861, Oliver notes for Abbie that “have seen Benejah today.” According to my best research efforts, this is a reference to Benejah Holcomb who was from Granby which is about two hours walking distance from Simsbury. He enlisted in the 8th CVI on September 11, 1861. He was discharged from the 8thon January 1, 1863. He was a descendant of Lieutenant Benejah Holcomb, a Revolutionary War hero, and he was also a distant cousin of Oliver and Abbie Case. In subsequent letters, Benejah is mentioned on several occasions.