Many soldiers' families accompanied them - strange as this may seem to us today - and older sons were particularly likely to follow their fathers to war.
William F.M. Hyder was one of the organizers of the Carter County bridge burners. After the uprising, he hid out in a hollow log on a neighboring farm for several months. The neighbor, John Miller, fed his pigs in the vicinity of the log in order to disguise the tracks of the fugitives he had hidden away.
Originally a Lieutenant in Company H of the 13th Tennessee Cavalry, Lt. Hyder left the regiment to return to Carter County on a recruiting mission. Having gathered about fifty men in Gap Creek gorge, they were surprised and scattered by the Confederate forces. Lt. Hyder was forced to hide out in the mountains all that winter, finally crossing the lines and returning to the regiment in March of 1864. While he as absent, another man had been appointed in his place, so he was made 1st Lieutenant of Company K.
Why he brought his fifteen year old son, Nat, along with him is unclear, although not uncommon. Lt. Hyder and my ancestor John seem to have become particularly good friends - Nat relates that they shared a hut, and that he knew John was 'half a Indian.'
Lt. Hyder also relates that John always had something good to eat, so apparently they shared their meals together.
Although I don't believe that they saw each other again after the war, John's pension file shows that he was well remembered by the Hyders, with both respect and affection.