John Lewis, alias “Henry Nash,” was born in 1831.
John, who was unable to read or write, was probably living in Mayfield, Lapeer County, Michigan, in 1850 but shortly before the war broke out he moved from Lapeer to Muskegon, and by 1860 he was living in Muskegon County.
He stood 6’0” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 30 years old and still living in Muskegon when he enlisted in Company H on May 6, 1861 -- he was possibly related to Ezra Lewis also of Company H. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers,” was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.)
On November 7, 1861, John was hospitalized, probably in E Street hospital in Washington, DC, suffering from typhoid fever. and he remained hospitalized until January 20, 1862, when he was returned to duty. He was apparently hospitalized again and from July of 1862 through January of 1863, was on detached service as a hospital nurse, and was a nurse in a hospital in Alexandria from February through March. He allegedly deserted from the hospital on April 28, 1863, and was subsequently dropped from the company rolls as being AWOL under General Order no. 92 (1862) of the War Department. He claimed in 1890 that in fact he had be honorably discharged in May of 1863, although the record does not presently substantiate this claim.
In any event, John eventually returned to Michigan and lived briefly in Pontiac, Oakland County in the summer of 1865 when, he claimed in 1890, his discharge papers were taken from his trunk. He soon returned to Lapeer County, and may have been working in the Mayfield area in 1866. He was residing and working as a farmer in Lapeer as “Henry Nash alias John Lewis” in 1876, in December of 1886 when he applied for a pension and in 1887.
His physician, Dr. William Jackson of Lapeer, testified in 1887 that he had been acquainted with Henry Nash since before the war. “Since his discharge from the service,” Dr. Jackson wrote, “he has at various times had severe attacks of eczema for which he has had medicines from me.” In June of 1869 Nash suffered from “an exacerbation of eczema and accidentally received a blow upon the head, the whole upper part of the body being in an irritated condition.” He also suffered from “an erysipolas form of disease totally interfering with active labor although he kept about most of the time. On May 19, 1878, he came to see me again suffering from another attack for which I gave him medicines. This last attack or exacerbation kept up until into June.” Dr. Jackson also claimed that Nash suffered from chronic diarrhea and continued bouts of eczema.
In 1886 John applied for a pension (no. 591,906), but the certificate was never granted.
John was still living in Lapeer in 1888 and in Mayfield in 1890.