Leonard, William A., b.1843(?)
- Existence: b.1843(?)
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.