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James was 25 years old when he enlisted as a private in Company A 19 Reg't Alabama Infantry on August 10, 1861 by Captain G. R. Kimbrough. He enlisted for 3 years. His description was that he was 6 feet 2 inches high with a Bitine (?) complexion, blue eyes, light hair and by occupation a farmer.
On June 28, 1862 he was reported as a deserter near Tupelo, Mississippi. He went on furlough for seven days and did not return.
It was later discovered that James was in a Cleveland, Tennessee hospital from October 27, 1862-November 27, 1862 with a fever that he eventually died from.
On September 2, 1864 Williamson Dollar of Pickens Co. Alabama father of private James Dollar was given back pay of $54.05.