Soldier describes skirmish on Malvern Hill and stealing from the dead


Date Written

Aug. 7, 1862

History Referenced

Stevenson Leslie was 21 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Lizzie Leslie, was 26 when it was received.

It was written 161 years, 1 month, 16 days ago.
It was a Thursday.

Harrison’s Landing
August 7th

Dear Sister,

I received your letter of the 1st today & it finds me in good health & also well satisfied at that for we have just come in from a skirmish at Malvern Hill. We found it occupied by a small force of Artillery, Cavalry & a few regiments of Infantry. We came in on them by the rear & they thought that we were their men coming to relieve them but they soon found out their mistake for our Signal Corp. soon signaled to the gunboats and then they let them have it on one side while we gave it to them on the other.

We made some splendid shots with our artillery, they had some of their pieces placed right along side of the house and just as one of their men was coming out he was struck in the Back. Another one was killed by the bursting of a shell under him. It tore his legs all to pieces. Me and a fellow out of Sickels Brigade dove into his pockets. He had 21 dollars and a 25 ct. in Confederate notes besides lot of other things to tedious to mention.

We lost some 8 or 10 killed & about 20 wounded, they had more killed & wounded than we, they lost all of their artillery but one piece. You ought to have seen them when we made a charge on them. They came out to us and one fellow pull off his vest for a flag of truce.

The boys soon went into the potatoes, corn, apples, chickens and every thing that could get that was good for anything, then set fire to the houses & barns. In one house there was splendid furniture, there was splendid furniture. There was a splendid piano and large lamp hanging from the wall so our boys picked up an old earthen jar and slammed away & smashed piano and lamp.

You must excuse my writing for I had only 5 minutes before the mail goes so good bye. Give my love to all and tell W. Sparks that he has not answered my last letter.

From your brother

PS Tell Paps to see if he can’t try and get me a Lieutenant in the regiment.

*Punctuation added to assist in reading

Scans of Letter