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Chauncey Leonard Letter

Identifier: MSS-4148

Scope and Contents

The collection contains a letter from Chauncey Leonard, chaplain in the U. S. Army, to C. T. Beach, stating that Mr. Beach's letter to his son Peter had been received and read. Leonard also thanked Mr. Beach for the money used to pay an assistant teacher in the hospital's school.


  • 1865 March 24


Biographical / Historical

Chauncey Leonard was one of only fourteen African American chaplains in the U. S. Army during the Civil War. He served in the L'Ouverture Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia.

The L'Ouverture Hospital opened in February 1864 to serve as the hospital for African American troops and contraband civilians (i.e., escaped and freed slaves). It was set up outside the divisional structure of the other military hospitals in Alexandria. Named for the Haitian revolutionary leader Toussaint L'Ouverture, the hospital was comprised of barracks, cookhouse and mess room, linen room, office, deadhouse, and a dispensary.

In 1864 and 1865, approximately 1,400 patients were admitted to L'Ouverture. The hospital was designed to accommodate up to six hundred patients at a time, although a census of Alexandria hospitals in late 1864 reveals that 617 of its 700 beds were occupied. Patients' records, including names, dates of admission, reasons for hospitalization, and resolution (release, transfer, death), reveal that most were admitted because of disease, and many patients stay for weeks and months at a time.

Chauncey Leonard opened a school for the soldiers at L'Ouverture that was well attended.


0.01 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Letter from an African American U. S. Army chaplain during the Civil War to the father of one of the soldiers at the hospital in Alexandria, Virginia


purchased from Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, Inc., 2015


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Processed by

Martha Bace, 2015



Guide to the Chauncey Leonard Letter
August 2015
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266