J. T. Alexander, the son of a Mississippi plantation owner, grew up with a best friend, the son of a slave on the plantation. He subsequently attended medical school in Europe at the beginning of the Civil War. Returning home, he enlisted in the Confederate Medical Service. His friend, Thaddeus (Tad), accompanied him as a helper. Together, they were involved with medicine and surgery throughout the Western district, including battles in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Georgia. The difficulty of obtaining medicine, and the complications of surgical and medical therapies, transport of casualties, and hospital movement, allowed little time to be in touch with his fiancée, who was sent north for her safety. They reunited in an Ohio prison where she volunteered. After the war they returned to Mississippi to start a practice of medicine and to reclaim lives that had been brutally interrupted.