The man in the center of the photo, flanked by two of his sons, is one of my wife's 2nd great-grandfathers, east Tennessean John L. Collins. The following is copied from "Mountain Rebels: East Tennessee Confederates 1860-1870" page 108 : "Men often slipped off as quickly as they were gained. For example,in the summer of 1864, twenty-six East Tennesseans assigned to Marshall's Battery from the Conscript Bureau, were supplied with clothing to the exclusion of the older members of the unit,and were drilled until all were competent artillerymen. Unfortunately, 24 of the 26 deserted". John was one of those 24. John was probably drafted sometime during the spring- summer of 1864 just before or after the birth of a daughter,. He first takes the Oath of Allegiance at Atlanta Sept 27,1864 after he was probably given the choice of that over a Yankee prison camp. He was then sent to the military prison in Louisville,Ky where he again " took the oath " on Oct 22,1864 and was released " north of the Ohio river " where he agreed to remain till the end of the war.
This happened with a number of Confederates given the choice between remaining "north of the Ohio", and free housing from their estranged Uncle Sam. Many of them, concerned about their families, took the quickest route back home and hid out from both sides for the duration. Some time ago I asked this question with no satisfactory response. Thought I'd ask again.
For the men who kept the terms of their parole, what did they do, where did they go, and how did they live ? Oral family history says John was "employed" by the Federal Army's Commissary Department caring for large cattle herds. Does anyone have any knowledge of these men and how they lived until the war's end ? One of John's grandsons, migrated to Indianapolis (on advice from grandpa) ? and lived out his days there.