|Born on July 10, 1839, in Preble County, Ohio, James W. Atwood was a laborer in Clay, Washington County, Iowa, by 1860.|
He enlisted in Company K, 13th Iowa Infantry on September 28, 1861, and was mustered into service on November 2, 1861. Promoted to sergeant on January 1, 1864, Atwood re-enlisted the same day.
The 13th Iowa fought at Shiloh, Corinth and in the Atlanta Campaign.
On July 21, 1864, the 13th Iowa was outside Atlanta with General William T. Sherman's army. At 8 a.m., Major William Walker of the 13th received orders to move at the double quick to the front to support Brigadier General Manning Force's attack on Bald Hill, east of Atlanta. After heavy fighting, the Federals captured the hill, but the 13th lost 17 enlisted men killed and 4 officers and 77 enlisted men wounded. James Atwood was one of those killed that morning.
Atwood is buried in Marietta National Cemetery, Marietta, Georgia. His brother Silas, who enlisted the same day and served in the same company, survived the war and died in 1906.