I've been researching my 2x great uncle, Robert Naylor Watts', service in Woodward's 2nd KY Cavalry and couldn't help but notice the similarities between your JR Hodges' experience and his. Robert N. Watts (b. 1829; d. 1894) was single, a farmer and living with his parents in Garnettsville, Meade Co., KY in 1861. Meade County is adjacent to Breckinridge County where your ancestor was from. His widow filed a Widow's Indigent Pension application with the state of KY in 1912. The application was approved but contains some conflicting dates. The Adjutant General's Office in Washington D.C. states he enlisted in Capt. J.F. Overton's Company on August 22, 1861 while a handwritten letter from the State of Kentucky's Adjutant General's Office states he enlisted on Aug. 11, 1861 in Garnettsville. The U.S. Adjutant General's Office statement says Overton's company became Company E 2nd (Woodward's) KY Cavalry. Like your ancestor, his allegiance to Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest was so strong that he apparently named his first son (Edward Forrest Watts) after him. I say this because the Watts clan routinely named their children after the surname of relatives and nowhere in all of my research can I find a Forrest. What's interesting is that some sources state that Forrest made a trip to Louisville to purchase arms out of his own pocket to equip his army in July 1861. He recruited some Meade/Breckinridge Counties men to help him secretly move the equipment out of the city and south toward the Tennessee border. You can read highlights of these events here http://stithvalley.com/svalley/civilwar/civilwar.htm#General Nathan On my ancestor's pension application his widow answers Questions for Witnesses #7, When and where did Robert Naylor Watts enlist in the war between the states and in what Company and Regiment did he enlist and how do you know this? Her answer: "He and several others brought arms thru secretly to Garnettsville from Louisville and left Garnettsville in a body in fall of 1861." Now, I have no idea if Robert N. Watts actually rode with Forrest or if he was among those who helped smuggle the arms noted in the above account. All I know is what his widow stated some 57 years after the end of the war. Clearly though, he had a strong connection with the man as did other Meade Countians.
I'm early in my research of this ancestor and I'm trying to determine what battles he may have fought in. In reading through the posts on this topic, there seems to be some confusion. What I do know is that his Confederate service was cut short as he was captured in Lafayette, GA on Dec. 22 1863, sent to Louisville for processing at the military prison on the 30th and then on to Rock Island, IL prison on the 31st. He spent 14 months at the prison and was released on Mar. 6, 1865 after taking the Oath of Allegiance. I'm reading "Rebels at Rock Island" now to get a sense of the conditions he endured while imprisoned.