My great grandfather, Samuel Bryant (1846-1925) was a slave near Cynthiana, KY, Harrison County until his eighteenth birthday when he enlisted in the 117th USCT in Covington, KY. After training at Camp Nelson, KY his unit was shipped to Virginia where they were present during the Siege of Petersburg and his regiment was one of only nine African American units present at Lee's surrender at Appamotox. After the war was over the 117th was shipped on the "Star of the South" to Texas where they did fatigue duty until they were mustered out on August 10, 1867. He then returned to Cynthiana where he married my great grandmother, Sally Gaiter (1857-1934) in 1870. Between 1870 and 1900 Sam and Sally had fourteen children, my grandmother, Patty born in 1899 was the youngest. After my grandmother was born the family moved here to Springfield, Ohio.
I gathered most of this information from Sam Bryant's pension records after my mother mentioned that he was buried on the first row of the Civil War Veterans mound here in Springfield. His service in the 117th USCT and another greatgrandfather, George Farley, who served in the 100th USCT inspired me to acquire a Civil War uniform and to become a member of the United States Colored Troops Living History Association (USCTLHA). Their service also gave me pride enough to become active in our community to the extent that I served as Assistant Mayor for six years and as Mayor for two years.
I encourage anyone who knows what county an ancestor was from who served during the Civil War to write the National Archives to seek that individuals' pension records. They are a treasure trove of facts.