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Leonard, William A., b.1843(?)



  • Existence: b.1843(?)

Biographical Note

William A. Leonard was born about 1843 to Joel A. (b.1817) and Sophia Leonard (1816-d. before 1880). His parents were both natives of Vermont who moved to Massachusetts. William and his two sisters, Leonora (b. abt. 1852; and who William calls "Nora" in his letters and is later listed as "Mary" in a least one set of census records) and Roselia (b. abt. 1859) were all born in Great Barrington, Berkshire County.

It is unknown what line of work William Leonard was in prior to the war, though he was living at home with his family. He was drafted into service in July 1863 for a three year term with Company F, 16th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry. In mid-July 1864, the 16th Infantry mustered out. Existing veterans and recruits, Leonard included, were transferred to the 11th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry. From at least August of 1864 until Lee's surrender, Leonard served as an ambulance driver, transporting wounded from battlefield to hospital. His unit spent nearly a year in and around Petersburg. While stationed outside Washington, DC, waiting to muster out, Leonard also drove civilians in and around the city. He particularly makes mention of taking family members to hospitals to get news of soldiers.

Leonard returned home to Great Barrington in July 1865. In 1880, he was living at home with his father, Leonora and her husband, and Leonora's brother-in-law. At the time, he was employed at a woolen mill. In 1894, he purchased a plumbing and steam fitting business from a former employer. Later census records suggest he was married to a woman named Hattie (probably Henrietta; b. abt. 1863), but it is unknown when. They had daughter, Nellie, in June 1897.

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, National Park Service.
The Metal Worker, vol. XLI, January to June 1894. New York: David Williams, 1894. Via Google Books, November 2011.

Found in 38 Collections and/or Records:

Diary, William Leonard, August 17, 1864 to April 30, 1865 (Ms2011-106)

 Digital Record
Identifier: Ms2011-106_LeonardWilliam_B1F4_Diary_1864-1865
Dates: 1864-08-17/1865-04-30

William A. Leonard Papers,

Identifier: Ms-2011-106
Abstract The collection includes William A. Leonard's letters home from February-July 1865, as well as his diary from August 1864-April 1865. Leonard served as an ambulance driver in and around the siege at Petersburg, which is the focus of his short diary entries. His early letters focus on war news and rumors, daily life, and news from home. Post-surrender letters emphasize Leonard's experiences while stationed around Washington, DC, daily life (including the growing frustrations of soldiers...
Dates: 1864 - 1865

Letter, William Leonard to Mother, Alexandria Va., May 14, 1865 (Ms2011-106)

 Digital Record
Identifier: Ms2011-106_LeonardWilliam_B1F2_Letter_1865_0514

Letter, William Leonard to Mother, Camp Near Bailey's Crossroads Va., June 10, 1865 (Ms2011-106)

 Digital Record
Identifier: Ms2011-106_LeonardWilliam_B1F3_Letter_1865_0610

Letter, William Leonard to Mother, Camp Near Bailey's Crossroads Va., June 16, 1865 (Ms2011-106)

 Digital Record
Identifier: Ms2011-106_LeonardWilliam_B1F3_Letter_1865_0616

Letter, William Leonard to Mother, Camp Near Patrick Station, February 21, 1865 (Ms2011-106)

 Digital Record
Identifier: Ms2011-106_LeonardWilliam_B1F2_Letter_1865_0221

Letter, William Leonard to Mother, Camp Near Patrick Station Va., February 24, 1865 (Ms2011-106)

 Digital Record
Identifier: Ms2011-106_LeonardWilliam_B1F2_Letter_1865_0224

Letter, William Leonard to Mother, Camp Near Patrick Station Va., March 3, 1865 (Ms2011-106)

 Digital Record
Identifier: Ms2011-106_LeonardWilliam_B1F2_Letter_1865_0303a

Letter, William Leonard to Mother, Camp Near Patrick Station Va., March 15, 1865 (Ms2011-106)

 Digital Record
Identifier: Ms2011-106_LeonardWilliam_B1F2_Letter_1865_0315

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