Tuesday 9 September 1862
The 8th CVI departs Leesboro on a “fine and warm” day and marches north to Brookeville where they take a two-hour rest halt before moving “to little village of Drainsville.”[i]
Modern sign for historic Brookeville, Maryland
The town of Brookeville was founded in 1794 by Quakers and was centered around a mill on the Reddy Branch which flows through the middle of the town. The town was officially chartered in 1808. One of the affluent farmers of the area built a turnpike in 1849 that connected Brookville to the Seventh Street Pike from Washington to facilitate the movement of goods to market. It is along this road which would later be known as Georgia Avenue that soldiers of the IX Corps including Oliver Case and the 8th Connecticut marched in September of 1862.
Based on Captain Walcott Marsh’s mileage estimate of 20 miles that day, this is likely the modern community of Sunshine, Maryland. Marsh described his experiences on this day:
We thus far had seen but few sighs of rebels though citizens said, that their cavalry had left day before. Thus far from Washington our road lay along a kind of ridge and the country is hilly but very fertile as every where might be seen large quantities of wheat and corn.[ii]
Oliver and his fellow soldiers were subjected to what was described as “weather [that] was hot and dry” and a “march [that was] exhausting.”[iii] The soldiers had no choice but to continue moving as “the men pressed on, sleeping as they could, and eating whenever rations were to be had.”[iv]
Joel Cook, a special correspondent for the Philadelphia Press, described the soldier’s challenge on the march:
No hardships were harder than those of the march, if we are to trust the voluminous testimony of the foot soldiers. The roads were dusty in the summer, muddy in the winter; the soldier was dressed in heavy woolens, loaded down with fifty or sixty pounds of equipment, often without food for long stretches of the day. It is no wonder that straggling was almost universal, or that literally thousands of men fell out of line and got lost.[v]
Union soldiers on the march
[iii] Croffut and Morris, 1868.
[v] The Siege of Richmond, Joel Cook, George W. Childs, Philadelphia, 1862.