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Abraham Lincoln dismisses Major John Key from the Union army

Abraham Lincoln dismisses Major John Key from the Union army

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The letter is accompanied by a copy of General Orders No. 144 of September 27, 1862, signed by the Assistant Adjutant General, dismissing Key from the service for uttering disloyal sentiments. The note describes meeting on 27 September with Key and Major Turner, the witness. The endorsement dismisses Key from the service.
The letter is accompanied by a copy of General Orders No. 144 of September 27, 1862, signed by the Assistant Adjutant General, dismissing Key from the service for uttering disloyal sentiments. The note describes meeting on 27 September with Key and Major Turner, the witness. The endorsement dismisses Key from the service.

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05/06/2011

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Abraham Lincoln to John J. Key
Washington, D.C., September 26-27, 1862.Autograph letter signed, 4 pages + docket.Sep. 26. 1862.Major John J. Key.Sir I am informed that in answer to the question “Why was not the rebel army baggedimmediately after the battle near Sharpsburg?” propounded to you by Major Levi C. Turner,Judge Advocate &c. you answered “That is not the game” “The object is that neither army shallget much advantage of the other; that both shall be kept in the field till they are exhausted, whenwe will make a compromise, and save slavery”.I shall be very happy if you will, within twenty four hours [
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] from the receipt of this, prove to me by Major Turner, that you did not, either literally, or in substence, make the answer stated – YoursA. LincolnAt about 11 o,clock AM. Sep. 27. 1862. Major Key & Major Turner appear before me.Major Turner says, “As I remember it, the conversation was, I asked the question why we did not bag them after the battle at Sharpsburg? Major Key’s reply was that was not the game, that weshould tire the rebels out and ourselves; that that was the only way the [
3
] Union could be preserved, we come together fraternally, and slavery be saved”On cross-examination Major Turner says he has frequently heard Major Key converse, inregard to the present troubles, and never heard him utter a sentiment unfavorable to themaintenance of the Union – He has never uttered anything which he Maj. T. would calldisloyalty.The particular conversation detailed, was a private one.A. Lincoln[
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]
The Gilder Lehrman Collection
GLC00228
 
Copy delivered to Major Key at 10.25 A.M. September 27. 1862.John Hay[
 postscript 
]In my view it is wholly inadmissible for any gentleman holding a military commission[
 struck 
: for] from the United States to utter such sentiments as Major [
inserted 
: Key] is within proven to have done. Therefore let Major John J. Key, be forthwith dismissed from the Militaryservice of the United States.A. LincolnSept. 27. 1862.[
docket 
]John J. Kay’sDismissal2527 K.Ay.O.1862 Notes: Written on “Executive Mansion, Washington” stationery.
The Gilder Lehrman Collection
GLC00228

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