Opening in 2027! Read our Latest News

Submitted by Richard Saunders; Researched and Written by Cheri Todd Molter

Samuel Bright of Currituck County, North Carolina, was a farmer, husband, and father who served in the U.S. Colored Troops and made the greatest sacrifice possible to preserve the union and protect the freedoms of people of color. Born about 1838, Bright was 26 years old when he enlisted on February 2, 1864, in Norfolk, Virginia. At that time, he and his wife, Bridget Woodhouse Bright, had one son, Spencer Bright, who had been born in 1858. Samuel served as a private in Company C of the 38th Infantry of the United States Colored Troops (USCT). In his military records, he was described as 5’,4” tall with a dark complexion, black hair, and black eyes. As a member of the USCT, Bright was to be paid $7.00 a month, which was significantly less than the $13 a month that white Union soldiers got paid.

Based on information provided by his military records, Bright was wounded in action on September 29,1864 at New Market Heights, Virginia. As a result of his injury, he was hospitalized. The Nov/Dec 1864 muster roll revealed that he was still absent from service, sick, hospitalized, and that he “had back pay due” to him back to April 30, 1864.

The remaining muster rolls, dated from Jan/Feb 1865 to Sept/Oct 1886, reveal that military officials lost track of Samuel after he sustained his injury and was hospitalized: Almost all of those officers wrote, “Absent – sick Date not known” or something similar on Bright’s forms. According to his compiled military record, Bright was officially discharged from service on January 25, 1867; however, he was included in the 38th USCT regiment’s muster-out roll sheet, dated June 25, 1867. By that time, Bridget Bright, Samuel’s wife, had filed a claim to receive a widow’s pension: It was dated April 5, 1867. Presumably, Samuel Bright died sometime between December 1866 and  January 25, 1867. His records state that he was at Pt. Rocks Hospital through December 1866 and that he was owed $300 in back pay.

Samuel Bright was survived by his wife, Bridget Woodhouse Bright, and their son, Spencer Bright. At some point after he was wounded in September 1864, Bridget and Spencer moved to Virginia, probably to be nearer to Samuel and assist with his care at the hospital. According to the 1870 census, Bridget and Spencer remained in Virginia after Samuel’s death: Bridget supported herself and Spencer by working as a domestic servant. However, they both had resettled back in Currituck County, NC, by 1880: According to those census records, Bridget had remarried and was living in Poplar Branch.



Pin It on Pinterest

Share This