A few other bits of information that might be of interest to you.... There is no evidence that I've found supporting claims that Bill Sketoe was a member of any Confederate company. He was captured when Alabama Militia troops joined with Confederate forces from Florida in launching a campaign into the Choctawhatchee swamps on both sides of the line. According to reports that showed up in newspapers during the winter of 1864-1865, two men were actually hanged that day on allegations not of desertion, but that they had taken part in a guerrilla ambush of a Confederate supply wagon. A Southern officer was severely wounded in that attack.
It is interesting to note that most of the men described as "raiders" or "outlaws" by local writers were actually members of the 1st Florida U.S. Cavalry, which was based at Barrancas near Pensacola. This unit sent numerous small detachments and squads into Confederate territory in Florida and South Alabama during the closing days of the war. The Sanders group, for example, was one of these detachments and its commander was actually an officer in the Union army. Breare's command, in turn, was a state militia force ordered to operate against organized deserters in the area after a dramatic upsurge in guerrilla activity in the region during the summer and fall of 1864. The Confederate campaign went into the swamps from both sides of the state line and involved movements in both the Choctawhatchee and Chipola River swamps. Most of the men captured were taken to Marianna where they were forced into the Confederate service. A few, however, were accused of more serious crimes and hanged. The hanging of such men had actually been recommended earlier in 1864 by General Howell Cobb.
I remember the original hole, which no longer exists. It was where the modern bridge at Newton stands and could still be seen after that bridge was built, but was destroyed during the severe Choctawhatchee River/Pea River floods and the site is now covered with piles of rock designed to keep the bridge from washing away during times of high water. A replica of the hole can be seen in the park next to the bridge and helps preserve the story.
I got the impression looking at the original that it was a lot bigger and deeper than someone could have scratched out with a crutch in a few minutes. My thoughts then (and today) were that it had probably been enlarged and deepened quite a bit over the years, probably by numerous people who were simply keeping the story alive.