In Bynum's book the only reference to Newt taking an official oath to the Union during the war was this...
[some Confederate soldiers after Vicksburg] "went home, citing the oaths of loyalty they had signed as a condition of parole by General Grant...as jusitification for refusing to rejoin the Confederate Army."
There is no proof Newt Knight was at Vicksburg and even if he was captured and paroled I never heard they had to take the "damned nasty oath" (a quote from a Knight family member) as part of their parole.
The 7th Miss. Batt. records show his cousin Ben Knight, was captured and paroled at Vicksburg, never showed up at Enterprise at the parole camp, was listed as AWOL and captured and hung after he was amoung a group of deserted who AMBUSHED forces sent to find deserters. But this fuzzy "history" says...
"Lowry caught Ben Knight, Captain Newt's cousin and an officer in the Confederate Army (he was a private), on furlough (there is no record he was). Thinking he had captured the leader of the deserters, Lowry hanged Ben Knight and threw his body on Newt's front steps. Newt's wife told the Confederates of their error and they found furlough papers in the dead man's pocket (most probably his parole papers from Vicksburg).
[[Below from- The State of Jones: The Small Southern County That Seceded from the Confederacy By Sally Jenkins, John Stauffer]]
of Newt Knight..."Never did hear him swear an oath," his sister Martha said of him.
None of these books on Newt Knight has come up with the required documentation on record proving his loyalty to the U.S. Government during the war. The Feds in the 1860s didn't believe anyones loyalty until it was sworn to, recorded and documented. If Newt was in communication and trading for arms with Union forces why didn't he take that one big step and make it legal?
So why the confusion? Newt Knight did not desert and join the Union Army, there is no loyalty oath on record during the war accredited to Newt Knight (like other deserters). Maybe that's why he never could persuade the Federal Pension Board, in the decades after the war, to allow his claim to a pension,... this records are at NARA are probably the most damning in refuting Knights myth.