Headquarters, 1st Brig., 3d Div. 6th Ar.
Near Gaines Mills
June 4, 1864
Dear Ha: I have just received a letter from you and as a mail will leave in an hour or two, I hasten to answer. We are behind entrenchments, holding a position which we have just taken from the enemy. Bullets, as I write, are flying in all directions, and wounded and dead men pass me continually.
This Brigade commenced to fight on the afternoon of June 1st at 5 o’clock p.m. and in three hours, we drove the enemy from two lines of their works with fearful slaughter and capturing about 800 prisoners. I enclose General Meade’s Letter of thanks, &c. to us. Our loss was heavy. Col. Truex, commanding Brigade, was wounded by my side, and went to the rear. Our loss in killed and wounded was about 300.
Yesterday, we fought again, advanced our lines, losing 150 men. Col. Shale, Commanding Brigade, was wounded in the arm by my side. My Brigade Commanders have had bad luck it appears. As yet, I am unwounded, though I have had many narrow escapes. Lieut. Col. C.K. Hall is now commanding, but says he expects soon to be hit, and that I must have his successor ready.
In regard to our getting to Richmond, it is a difficult matter to say. No doubt we will eventually get there, on account of our superiority in numbers; but I have no doubt that the 10 miles which we have now to go will cost at least 60,000 more lives. We are now making regular approaches to Richmond by digging, and you know what that means. I am completely exhausted and used up with hard work, with marches &c., and also sickened and disgusted with the butchery, which I daily see. We have lost in killed and wounded 660 men, almost one third of our brigade, the proportion of killed to wounded being one in five.
Our last mail was captured by the enemy; so I suppose I lost many letters.
Chas. Leonard, A.A.G.
Note: Letter from Chas. Leonard to his father in the trenches, Virginia countryside near Richmond, Va.