Private Nelson Wright was born around 1845 in Albemarle County. He worked as a farmer before the Civil War. He enlisted in the Union army in Petersburg, Virginia, on April 14, 1865, mustering into Company I of the 117th USCT Infantry Regiment on April 20 of that year. His enlistment records describe him as 5 feet, 1 inch tall, with black hair, black eyes, and a black complexion. He deserted from the regiment on June 1, 1865, at Camp Lincoln, Virginia.
Wright may have returned to Albemarle County after the war. The 1880 census lists a Nelson Wright living in Rivanna, Virginia, with his wife, six children, and a stepdaughter. No other details of his postwar life have been found.
Private Wright was profiled by the University of Virginia's John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History in 2017, as part of their Black Virginians in Blue digital project.
- Web. Nelson Wright (117th USCT), Website, John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History: Black Virginians in Blue, April 12, 2021, retrieved July 28, 2021.