The fortunes of the regiment and, indeed, the Confederacy, were declining in the spring of 1864, but the men were affected in different ways, according to records gathered by independent historian Jess N. McLean.
Professor T. Dwight Nutting, leader of the regimental band since the spring of 1862 when the ensemble had performed to popular acclaim on the Virginia penninsula, apparently was demoralized.
The 38-year-old Nutting was a prisoner at Memphis, where he took “the Oath of Amnesty” on March 22. The oath was a pardon issued by the federals in exchange for the signee swearing to faithfully defend the constitution of the United States and support and abide by all proclamations of the government.
Two days later, in Kosciusko, Mississippi, Private Peter F. Ellis of the Minutemen of Attala wrote Confederate Secretary of War James A. Seddon pleading for a commission in the “Quartermaster of Commissary Department.”
Ellis, an 18-year-old clerk when he enlisted in 1861, had been discharged after losing his right leg at the Battle of Malvern Hill in 1862. Nevertheless, he wrote, “I am in good health and although the possessor of only one leg am anxious to perform whatever service to our cause…” He also hoped to “receive some compensation for my service loss in the service of my country.”
On March 26, 1864, at Sweetwater, Tennessee, Major Terrance Clark, commanding the 19th Illinois Infantry Volunteers, dispatched a Confederate prisoner to the provost marshall.
The prisoner, Second Lieutenant Fletcher Clark Sinclair of the Kemper Legion, had been injured in a collision of railroad cars as the 13th regiment moved to Knoxville in the fall of 1863. His right leg had been amputated.
The provost marshall, Captain J.S. Ransom, took Sinclair, an unmarried 26-year-old farmer and student when he enlisted in 1861, under guard to the federal hospital at Chattanooga. Sinclair, Major Clark wrote, had “refused to take the Amnesty Oath.”