-During the Civil War he was mustered into Company E of the 14th Illinois Cavalry on March 28, 1864 in LaSalle County.
During his 16 months in captivity, he dropped to just 45 lbs and was not expected to survive after his release. Not only did he survive, he married and became the father of six children. Years after the war ended, his story received national attention in magazines and newspapers. January died in 1906.
However: An interview with Valentine Meyers in The Pantagraph in 1906 gave a slightly different version of January’s ordeal.
Meyers was an army nurse and helped take care of January during his recovery in the hospital in Florence, South Carolina. Meyers said that when January was first brought to the hospital in November of 1864 he was sent to lie in the pen because the hospital was full. Meyers said that January’s clothes were stolen from him while he lay unconsious on January 5. Friends got together to provide him with some new clothing.
Meyers claimed that when January asked to have his feet cut off, the army doctor refused and told him that he was going to die anyway and he wanted him to have his feet with him when he died. January managed to convince the doctors to remove his feet. Meyers said that it was an easy task because the gangrene had rotted his bones away.
http://www.minonktalk.com/jjanuary.htm Source: Dr. X’s Free Associations