Charles August Leuschner was born on December 15, 1845, in Torgau, Prussia, to Gottlieg August and Emelie (Heller) Leuschner. He arrived on October 15, 1855, in Galveston, via New Orleans, with his parents and younger brother, August Frederick, after sailing from Hamburg, Germany aboard the "Herschel."
The family settled in Victoria, Texas, where his father worked as a carpenter until his death in 1857. Prior to Leuschner's sixteenth birthday, he enlisted into Company B, Sixth Texas Infantry Regiment. Leuschner participated in every major engagement, except the debacle at Nashville, the regiment fought. He was at the fall of Arkansas Post, the triumph at Chickamauga, the heroic stand at Tunnel Hill (Missionary Ridge), the Atlanta Campaign, and at the beginning of the victorious, but tragic conquest of Franklin. Leuschner's tour included imprisonment in Illinois at Camp Butler and Camp Douglas.
Leuschner was considered by his fellow soldiers as one of the bravest soldiers in the company. Because he was so well respected, Leuschner was to become a lieutenant, but he rejected the overture on the grounds that, as a nineteen-year-old, he was not ready to become an officer.