sister, and has seized upon my younger and only sister and I fear on myself. My wife is also fatherless and motherless and with her two babes is waiting anxiously for me. They lean upon my youth, and I had promised when my three months were up to return to them, for I was sick of camp and of war. Let me add too that my wife fears she will be confined again his winter, and will your not then intercede with the Secretary of War (for in your hands it lies) that we may not sicken and die away from each other. A release, though it were even to go home and die among my friends would gladen them beyond measure and the Father of the fatherless would reward the kindness. I am very young and may have been imprudent.
In case of my release Bishop Atkinson proposes to write to Bishop Burgess, of Maine, with whom he is acquainted, informing him of the circumstances of my release and of what will be expected of me. The bishop then can keep his eye upon me and put his ecclesiastical commands on me. As you are doubtless aware the discipline of our church gives the bishop power among his presbyters, and the infringement of parole or the conditions of release would subject me to censure and disgrace. With this arrangements and with my explanation and apology, I hope, my dear sir, that you can ask of the Secretary of War that I may be returned to my home, to my wife and little ones and my dying sister.
I am, sir, very respectfully, yours,
JOHN F. MINES,
Chaplain Second Maine Regiment and late Rector Grace Church, Baltimore, Md.
[Inclosure No. 2.]
LABURNUM, NEAR RICHMOND, August 18, 1861.
Rev. JOHN F. MINES.
SIR: I have just received your letter of the 16th instant. It is exceedingly touching and even if I disbelieved its profession of penitence I would say if I had the power: "Spare him and let him return to his wife and little children and let his joy and their joy at this deliverance and reunion with them purify his heart and teach him to repent of the great crime he has committed in invading our peaceful land with an army of plunderers for the purpose of making our views widows, our children fatherless, and our parents childless, although none of them had ever wronged or sought to injure him or his or those in whose bloody service he came. "
But I hope and believe that you are not seeking to escape from the consequences of one crime by committing another and are sincerely penitent and therefore I sincerely forgive you; for if a penitent may be forgiven for sinning against his God he may be forgiven for any other sin though it be as great as yours. You are not, however, in my power but in that of the honorable Secretary of War and the magnanimous and gallant gentleman who as President of our new Confederacy so nobly leads us in the way to victory and liberty. You were arrested upon my testimony but not as your apology would seem to indicate for any offense to me, but because upon that testimony you were in the opinion of the honorable Secretary (who if he errs at all in respect to prisoners errs on the side of mercy) the active enemy of his country found on the battle-field and still impenitent and vindictive. In order to justice to that opinion allow me in no unkind spirit and with no view to wound you (I assure you) recall to your memory the circumstances under which we met and some at least of the occurrences at