Abraham Lincoln to John J. Key
Washington, D.C., 26-27 September 1862.
Autograph letter signed, 4 pages.
Major John J. Key.
I am informed that in answer to the question "Why was not the rebel army bagged
immediately 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 shall
get much advantage of the other; that both shall be kept in the field till they are exhausted, when
we will make a compromise, and save slavery".
I shall be very happy if you will, within twentyfour hours  from the receipt of this,
prove to me by Major Turner, that you did not, either literally, or in substence, make the answer
At 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 we
should tire the rebels out and ourselves; that that was the only way the  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, in
regard to the present troubles, and never heard him utter a sentiment unfavorable to the
maintenance of the Union. He has never uttered anything which he Maj. T. would call
The particular conversation detailed, was a private one.