SUBMITTED BY: Charles Wesley Starling (you can hear Mr. Starling read this letter by searching for “Great great grandfather Charles Wesley Leonard”)
Richmond, Virginia – June 9, 1864
To Mr. Putnam:
Me and Doc has been thinking a writing to you for sometime though we have not had the opportunity of so doing til now. We will give you the news as far as we are able as the fighting has got rather the best of us. I think there has been a great loss of lives on both sides though we have not lost near as many as the Yankees have for they have done the attacking and we have been mostly in the breast works. If we hadn’t a had breast works they would a run us out, believe me. Regt (regiment) has been in 7 battles since the 12th of May and have suffered badly for it for we have done the flanking. Generally our losses in our Regt has been about 350 men, about 150 captured, 140 killed and the remainder wounded. We have about one good company left now in the Regt though we have suffered as of more than any others we ____. Colonel ____ and Major killed. Only one officer in the regt. And that is Capt. Donnell and he commands it. Everything remains quiet today and has been so for three days. There was a desperate fight last Friday at Cold Harbor. The Yankees tried to take that place. We repulsed them awful slaughter and that was on the right wing of our army and we were on the left and we were ordered to go and attack them in the rear and we got one line of their breast works and helt [held] them for 36 hours and pressed them and we got decidedly the advantage of that days fight with a small loss on our side compared with theirs because we were protected by our breast works. This has beat any fighting that ever was known. If you hear any Secessionist say the Yankees won’t fight, just tell them this is the place to _____ it. I wish the last one was here and if there is any more fighting to do they would had to be in front and then you would hear crys for peace. But while they are allowed to remain at home, “All right, go out boys, whip them Yankees butt. We will have a good time.” ____ to go there. This years fighting _____ _____ for if such fighting as we have for done for the last month _____ make peace. There is no use in fighting. We are lying up and resting now and I suppose the enemy is doing the same. General Grant sent a flag of truce _____ to General Lee a Tuesday for permission to bury their dead as we helt [held] the battle field and he granted him the privilege of doing so. There has been no one killed out of the neighborhood as I have any knowledge of. Me and Doc have both escape well. Lea was captured the 10th of May so he is safe. I want you to show this letter to Janey Edwards as my views are this about the fighting. _____ that neither army will whip bad still they will continue to fight on occasionally and nothing gain by it. So we will close by hoping to hear from you soon.
Samuel P. Knight
And C.W. Leonard
Co, C 45th Regt. NC Troops