September 2, 1862 – Acquia Landing

The important things are always simple; the simple are always hard. – Murphy’s Law of Combat Operations, #21

Although no specific historical account exists of the activities of the 8th CVI on this date, the regiment likely prepared for their movement north via water. The soldiers including Oliver would be engaging in the time-honored tradition of “hurry up and wait” known to soldiers of all armies. The previous evening, the brigade had arrived from Brooks Station bringing with them many former slaves.

In September of 1862, Oliver and his fellow soldiers would have found the Acquia Landing to be a busy transfer point for personnel and supplies. The Union army had begun to transform the site into a supply depot after the Confederates abandoned it earlier in 1862. The history of the landing as a transportation hub dated back to 1846 when the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad was extended to the site. This now made it possible for a traveler to make the journey from Richmond to Washington in about nine hours utilizing the railroad and water transport. Previously, the same journey would take 38 hours traveling by stagecoach. In mid-1861, the Confederate had establishes batteries at the site and traded fire with the Union Navy before abandoning the site less than a year later.

 Aquia Landing in February 1863. The scene on September 2, 1862 would have appeared much the same.

Aquia Landing railroad terminus in an undated CW photograph. Oliver Case and the 8th CVI would have traveled these rails.

The Union Army would burn the landing after the evacuation of northern Virginia in September 1862 only to rebuild it a few months later.

Also on this day, a small but important skirmish occurred to west of Aquia Landing. It became known as the Battle of Mile Hill as Confederate cavalry forces under Colonel Thomas Munford attacked a Union cavalry force composed of Cole’s Maryland Cavalry and the Loudoun Rangers just north of Leesburg, Virginia. The engagement was the first in the Maryland Campaign of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and allowed the Confederate forces to occupy Leesburg and begin crossing the Potomac River only four days later.

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