Brent Woods

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Brent Woods
Brent Woods with hat.jpg
Sergeant Brent Woods
Pulaski County, Kentucky
DiedMarch 31, 1906 (aged 50–51)
Somerset, Kentucky
Place of burial
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1873 – 1902
Unit9th Cavalry Regiment
Battles/warsAmerican Indian Wars
AwardsMedal of Honor
Spouse(s)Pearl Baker[1]

Brent Woods (1855 – March 31, 1906) was an African American Buffalo Soldier in the United States Army and a recipient of America's highest military decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in the Indian Wars of the western United States.


Brent Woods
Grave at Mill Springs National Cemetery

Woods was born a slave in Pulaski County, Kentucky and freed at the age of 8.[1] He joined the US Army from Louisville, Kentucky in October 1873 at the age of 18 (although initially claiming to be 23)[2] and was assigned to Company B of the 9th Cavalry Regiment. On August 19, 1881, he participated in a battle at Gavilan Canyon in New Mexico against Chief Nana and a small band of Apaches. After the deaths of six men in his cavalry, including his lieutenant, Woods took command and fought to save the lives of many of his comrades. Thirteen years later, on July 12, 1894, Sergeant Woods was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the engagement. He retired from the army in November 1902 and returned to Somerset.[3] Woods died in 1906 at the age of 50 or 51 and was buried in an unmarked grave at the First Baptist Church of Somerset.[1]

Knowledge of Sergeant Woods' achievements remained largely obscured until 1982 when Lorraine Smith of Somerset started a campaign to mark Woods' grave.[1] On June 20, 1984, the US Army exhumed Woods' remains and gave him a full military funeral on October 28.[3][4] His grave can be found in section A, grave 930 of Mill Springs National Cemetery, Nancy, Kentucky.[5]

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company B, 9th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: New Mexico, August 19, 1881. Entered service at: Louisville, Ky. Birth: Pulaski County, Ky. Date of issue: July 12, 1894.


Saved the lives of his comrades and citizens of the detachment.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Gerald L. Smith; Karen Cotton McDaniel; John A. Hardin (16 July 2015). The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia. University Press of Kentucky. p. 543. ISBN 978-0-8131-6066-5.
  2. ^ Register of Enlistments in the US Army, 1798-1914
  3. ^ a b Berry Craig (2011). Hidden History of Kentucky Soldiers. The History Press. pp. 65–67. ISBN 978-1-59629-996-2.
  4. ^ The Medal of Honor: A History of Service Above and Beyond. Boston Publishing Company. 1 October 2014. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-7603-4624-2.
  5. ^ "Brent Woods". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. Retrieved 2007-11-23.
  6. ^ "Indian War Period Medal of Honor recipients". Medal of Honor citations. United States Army Center of Military History. 2005-04-19. Retrieved 2007-01-15.


External links[edit]