great pain. I have tried to serve our country. I know that I have served it. I will not undertake to say how much.
Mr. Lincoln, I have a great favor to ask of you. Hear me! My only child, Clarence J. Prentice, God help him, is a major in the Confederate service. A few weeks ago he came into Kentucky and being cut off from his command he came by night to his home to see me and his mother and his baby. He was seem coming and in a few hours arrested. He is now at Camp Chase and his mother in Columbus. He desires I know to serve no longer in the war. He would be a great loss to the Confederates, for he has been one of their most effective officers.
I do not suppose, Mr. Lincoln, that you can parole my boy upon his taking the non - combatant's oath to remain in the United States though I should be most happy if you could; but I fervently appeal to you to let him go upon, his taking that simple oath anywhere outside of the United States and of the rebel Confederacy. I know his plans. His mother will go with him and he will never bear arms against us again. I will be surety for this with fortune and life. I have written to General Burnside to let my son remain at Camp Chase till I hear from you. Please let it be soon for I am most unhappy.
Ever your friend,
GEO. D. PRENTICE,
JUDGE - ADVOCATE - GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, May 16, 1863.
The SECRETARY OF WAR:
Clarence J. Prentice, born and residing in Kentucky, at the breaking out of the rebellion left his home and entered the military service of the rebels, where by his zeal and efficiency as an officer he attained the rank of major, which position he now holds. He joined in the recent military invasion of his native State and having by some means not explained become separated from his command he availed himself of the opportunity to make a clandestine visit to his father's house in Louisville, where he was captured. The authorities have not thought proper to proceed against him as a spy but have treated him as a prisoner of war. As such he is now confined at Camp Chase. His father, speaking of him in a letter to the President, says: " He desires I know to serve no longer in the war," and in consideration of this seeming weariness of the crime in which he has been engaged he asks that on his taking the simple oath of a non - combatant he may be allowed to go anywhere outside of the United States and of the rebel Confederacy.
Clarence J. Prentice himself has made no communication to the Government expressive of his feelings in regard to the war or of his future plans and purposes. When prisoners of war are willing to take the oath of allegiance it is the practice to permit them to do so. When they are not thus willing they have been invariably exchanged under the cartel. The intermediate course now proposed has not been pursued because the Government would thereby lose the advantage of the exchange and because no satisfactory or reliable guaranty would exist that the prisoners thus tenderly dealt with would not at the first opportunity re - enter the rebel military service. Doubtless investigation would show that the reason of many officers and soldiers in the rebel armies in palliated by the pressure of an excited public sentiment and by the military despotism to which they have been subjected. Such,