Leonard Gue

Leonard L. Gue was born in Duchess, New York in 1834 and was a blacksmith by trade. When the war broke out, he enlisted as a Private in Company F of the Fourth Michigan Volunteer Infantry, on June 20, 1861, at Adrian, Michigan, for 3 years, at age 26. Leonard was also mustered into Federal service on June 20, 1861. He was wounded in action (shot in right thigh) on June 27, 1862, at Gaines Mill, Virginia. Captured and exchanged, he was sent to the hospital at Chester, Pennsylvania. Leonard returned to duty on September of 1862. Promoted to Corporal in the color guard in January of 1863. Severely wounded in left arm at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 2, 1863. He was then sent to the hospital at Chester, Pennsylvania and then was transferred to U. S. General Hospital at Germantown, Pennsylvania. Under General Orders No. 188, he was declared unfit for further field service and was transferred to the Invalid Corps at Washington, D.C., March 15, 1864. Discharged at Washington, D.C., June 20, 1864, from Company C, Sixth Regiment, Veteran Reserve Corps. Enlisted in Battery G, First Light Artillery, September 5, 1864, at Pontiac, for one year. Mustered September 5, 1864. Appointed Artificer January 28, 1865. Mustered out and honorably discharged at Jackson, Michigan, August 6, 1865. Wounded five times during war. Resided Burdell, Osceola, Michigan after service. Leonard Gue died on November 23, 1896 and is buried in Tustin, Michigan.

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Dear Brother and Sister,                                                             Fort Woodbury   March 4, 1862

I take this opportunity to inform you that I am well. I have not heard from you in some time. I wrote you some time since and have not received any answer yet. I hope you will write for I do not hear from home any more since Father’s folks moved. You wanted [that] I should write and let you know how I fare. I wrote in my last letter, but I think you did not get it, or you would’ve wrote before.

Fort Woodbury

A drawing of Fort Woodbury in September of 1861

Well, I have plenty of good bread, and beans, and rice, and coffee, and fresh beef every other day, and pork and potatoes about twice a week, and dried apples once in a while. So you can see that I will not starve. And for my bed, I have three good blankets and my overcoat, and plenty of good soft pine poles, so that when my bed gets hard I turn the poles over. For our stove we dig a little trench in the ground and cover it over with sheet iron and let it run out under the tent, which makes a very good substitute for a stove. I wish you could see our camp. I think that it would please you. We hear good news from the south and west, and I march on to Richmond as soon as the mud dries up a little. You wrote that you would send me some of your northern papers if I wished. I would like them. Well, I do not think of anything more that would interest you.

Leonard L. Gue

 

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Dear Sister Huldah,                                                   Chester, [Pennsylvania]   August 14, 1861

I received your letter of the 5th and was glad to hear from you once more. I am gaining slowly. I am so as to get around on crutches a little. My leg is gaining strength. You wanted to know how I fare. I have great care and have a very pleasant place. I have been here about a week. I have been sick the most of the time since I left Richmond. I was wounded on the 27th of June [Battle of Gaines Mill, Virginia]

Battle of Gaines Mill, Valley of the Chickahominy, Virginia, June 27,1862 (NARA)

and taken prisoner and taken to Richmond. There I had nothing to eat but bread and beef soup twice a day and very poor  at that. The rebels was very good to me on the battlefield. They brought me water and everything they could. I will give you the cost of things in Richmond, Flour is a dollar a pound, Coffee $2.50 to $7.00, butter $2.00, salt 50 cts. and other things in proportion. I was in the battle all day Thursday and Friday until about  sunset when I was wounded. I was left on the field 2 weeks in an old nigger house, where I had nothing but water gruel, 2 every day, and very little at that. I will send you some secesh money that I got in Richmond. You must write often and with all the particulars. I do not think of anything more that would be of interest to you. Give my love to all.

Direct your letters as before,   Leonard L. Gue

 

 

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Dear Brother and Sister,                                        Camp near Falmouth, Va.   May 20, [1863]

I received your letter of the tenth today and was very glad to [hear] that you are all well. I am well and back on the old camp ground again after a hard march in which we carried eight days rations and sixty rounds of cartridges. We marched very hard and waded across the Rapidan [River], which was about four feet deep. And then the fighting commenced and we fought hard for six days and part of the nights. The rebels fought bravely, but this part of the army repulsed them every time. Stonewall Jackson had command of the troops in front of this corps. Saturday night the rebels broke the Eleventh Corps and they run in disorder. Sunday morning before daylight, this corps was marched from the left and took their ground. The rebels had taken the most of Howard’s artillery and they thought it would be a good  time to commence . They came on in  the morning as soon as it was light, but they did not find the Dutchmen. They found the 5th Army Corps and they tried hard to beat us. They made seven charges and we repulsed them every time with great loss to the rebels and not much to us. About one o’clock they retired and we held the field. The artillery that they took from Howard was all broken by the 3rd and 5th Corps. On Monday afternoon, this regiment charged through the woods to find where the rebels was. We went over the field that the 11th Corps had retreated over and the sight was awful.

 

The unburied dead from the Gaine's Mill, Virginia battlefield

A scene of the dead from the Gaine’s Mill, Virginia battlefield…..

 

The field of battle was in the woods and soon after they found that they couldn’t whip us, they set fire to the woods and the dead and wounded was burnt. The sight was sickening to see, both our men and theirs burnt. Theirs was burnt worse than ours on account of their clothes being mostly cotton and ours all woolen. Our loss in the regiment was small. Our whole loss was about ten thousand. I believe the rebels loss was more than ours. They masked their troops and charged so much. I have written before, since the battle. But maybe it will not reach you. This army will not be fit to advance again until it is reinforced. All the nine months men have gone home and a good many of the 2 years men. One whole division out of this corps is gone. This regiment was the last to cross the bridge when coming back. This division covered the retreat. But the rebels did not follow. If Sedgwick could hold the heights after taking them, we might have made a good thing of it. But the rebels drove him back to their side of the river and then the only way was for Hooker to come back. The rebels did not whip Hooker. Well, as it is almost dark and the sun is getting small, I will close by bidding you goodbye. Please write often.

This from your brother and well wishes, Leonard l. Gue   Yours with respect