The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History 00228 Page 2
Copy delivered to Major Key at 10.25 A.M. September 27. 1862.
In my view it is wholly inadmissable for any gentleman holding a military commision for
from the United States to utter such sentiments as Major ^ is within proven to have done.
Therefore let Major John J. Key, be forthwith dismissed from the Military service of the United
Sept. 27. 1862.
K784, Dec 31, 1862.
John J. Kay's
Notes: Basler 5: 442-443 with some variations from his autograph at the Library of Congress.
This document appears to be Lincoln's copy, which Basler could not locate. Basler's text has
"either litterally, or in substance" in the first ALS, "Major T." (where GLC 228 has "Maj. T.").
An additional endorsement by Lincoln appears in Basler 5: 443, beginning "The foregoing is the
whole record...." Note that Basler prints Hay's endorsement (on p. 4 in this document) in the
proper chronological order, after Lincoln's ALS. Key may have been the only Union soldier
ever to be dismissed for uttering disloyal statements during the Civil War. 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. See also GLC 496.045, a follow-up
letter dated 1862 Nov. 24 and 1862 Dec. 27 from Lincoln to Key, reassuring the major of his
sympathy but also confirming the order of dismissal.