Private Riland Garr was born around 1844 in Albemarle County. He listed his occupation as a farmer on his service record. Nothing else is known about his life before the war. Garr joined the Union army at the age of 21 as a private on April 20, 1865, and he mustered in on April 22, 1865, both in Petersburg, Virginia. Garr served in Company K of the 117th United States Colored Troops Infantry Regiment. His service record describes him as 5 feet, 2 inches tall, with black hair, black eyes, and a black complexion. In August 1865, Garr traveled with his regiment to Brownsville, Texas.
Private Garr 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. [ Riland Garr (117th USCT)], Website, John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History: Black Virginians in Blue, March 3, 2021, retrieved July 28, 2021.