James H. Valentine was born June 4, 1839, in Lancashire, England. There are discrepancies in his date of immigration. The 1900 Census says he immigrated in 1852, and the 1910 Census says he immigrated in 1849.
On February 11, 1862, James enlisted in the 3d Rhode Island Heavy Artillery, Company A. The Rhode Island 3rd Regiment was organized at Providence, but reorganized at Hilton Head, South Carolina, as Heavy Artillery on December 19, 1861. They were attached to Sherman's Expeditionary Corps.
At some point, James was injured and spent time at a Union hospital in Beaufort, South Carolina. He signed his name on a plaster wall (photo attached) while staying there.
In the book Shot and Shell about the Third Rhode Island Heavy Artillery, we learn a bit about hospitals in Beaufort, "Hospitals are essential accompaniments of armies; and we had excellent ones in the Department of the South. Those in Beaufort were large, airy, private residences, that had been abandoned by their rebel owners, and were well supplied with stores, medical officers, and attendants."
James was discharged on February 11, 1865, at Hilton Head, South Carolina. After returning to Rhode Island, James married Betsey Warren Burdick. His 1870 Census record shows he worked as a house painter. The 1900 Census record shows James is still painting houses and living in Westerly, Rhode Island. James died May 23, 1915 in South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island.