The U.S. Civil War was waged between the federal government of the United States of America and the secessionist Confederate States of America from April 1861 to May 1865. The conflict resulted in 600,000 American deaths, the destruction of industry and agriculture in the country's southeastern states, and the abolition of slavery in the United States.
The 24th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment was raised in the summer of 1862 in response to a national call for volunteer soldiers. The regiment, billed as the Iowa Temperance Regiment, attracted nearly one thousand teetotalers from the state of Iowa. Included in this number was James H. Lewis, a twenty-two year old resident of Tama County who enlisted on August 21, 1862 and mustered one week later as Seventh Corporal. Between 1862 and 1865, the Temperance Regiment moved through Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Georgia, and South Carolina. The regiment participated in the Yazoo Pass Expedition, the Siege of Vicksburg, the Battle of Sabine Crossroads, Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign, and dozens of other operations. During this time, 128 members of the Temperance Regiment were killed by wounds received in combat and an additional 215 died of disease. The remainder of the regiment mustered out in Savannah, Georgia on July 17, 1865, less than a month after the surrender of the last Confederate general. Lewis survived the war and was discharged as Fifth Sergeant.
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