I agree, the case of Sketoe is interesting because it doesn't seem to match the legend at all (i.e. that he was a Confederate soldier either home on leave or with a substitute in the service). I suspect there was some effort during the years after the war to improve the story a little. Most likely he was a Unionist as there were many in that part of Alabama and I suspect he was either associated with or rumored to be associated with guerrilla activity. He was of conscription age and they would not have hanged him for evading conscription alone. Most of the men captured in these operations were sent back into the service, but a handful were hanged invariably because they were thought to be involved in violence against either civilians or the Confederate army.
John Ward, as I understand it, was a businessman who was evading the conscription. He is generally associated with Dale County and the swamps of the Chipola River tributaries in what was then Henry County (today's Houston). This was the same area that was a base of operation for Sanders and his detachment from the 1st Florida U.S. Cavalry (the men who attacked Newton in early 1865).
Jim Ward, according to E.W. Carswell's writings about Washington and Holmes Counties in Florida, was a private in the 1st Florida U.S. Cavalry but deserted (he actually deserted from both sides, according to Carswell) and there was a Jim Ward for a time on the muster rolls of the 1st Florida. He is usually associated with Boynton's Island, a hideout on the Choctawhatchee River just south of today's Vernon, Florida, and operated north and south of the state line. His best known activity, of course, was the Elba attack and subsequent skirmish with the local men at Battle Branch, but he was involved in number of other skirmishes and raids.
There were three men from Dale County captured (and apparently executed) during the Marianna raid. They were escorting a salt wagon back up from the coast when they stumbled into a small detachment from the 2nd Maine Cavalry led by Lt. Col. Andrew B. Spurling of that regiment. Spurling and his men were disguised in Confederate uniforms and had been sent by the raid commander, Brig. Gen. Alexander Asboth, to round up a few Confederate cavalrymen who had escaped following a skirmish at Eucheeanna in Walton County, Florida, on September 23, 1864. They moved as far north as Geneva, but turned back into Florida and captured the Dale County men at Campbellton in Jackson County, Florida, on September 27, 1864, as Asboth's main force was engaged int he Battle of Marianna. A letter written by one of Spurling's men a few days later confirms the capture, but the records are strangely silent on what happened to the men. They never returned home, but also do not appear on the lists of prisoners of war taken during the raid. Most likely, since Spurling and his men were operating "undercover," he had them killed.
A few men from Alabama were also captured at the skirmish at Eucheeanna and at the Battle of Marianna. They were members of Captain Robert Chisolm's (Chisholm's) Cavalry Company from Woodville (Gordon) that had been sent south from Alabama to assist the command at Marianna in dealing with raids and deserter gangs. The unit was under orders to disband at the time of the Battle of Marianna (September 27, 1864) so that its men could report to regular Confederate units. Governor John Milton of Florida took up their case after the Battle of Marianna, asking Confederate authorities in Richmond not to disband the company and praising their courage at the battle. The War Department relented and the unit became Company I, 5th Florida Cavalry. As I mentioned, a few of its men were taken prisoner at Eucheeanna and Marianna. They were sent to prisoner of war camps in the North. Some made it home, some died in prison.