Historian will speak on McClellan’s Other Story at Summit Old Guard

William B. Styple
William B. Styple

SUMMIT — Author and Historian William B. Styple, will speak to the Old Guard of Summit at its meeting, 10 a.m., Oct. 8. His topic will be “McClellan’s Other Story – The Political Intrigue of Col. Thomas M. Key.”

Kentucky-born Colonel Thomas Marshall Key served as a “Confidential Aide” on the staff of Major General George McClellan from 1861-1863. The enigmatic colonel maintained a dominating influence over his commanding general—advising him on war policy and ignoring orders from the Lincoln Administration.

Key authored most, if not all, of McClellan’s politico-military orders including the infamous Harrison’s Landing Letter of July 7, 1862—advising Lincoln on war policy and arguing against the emancipation of slaves. Key’s close friends blamed Key for steering McClellan with dubious political advice, which not only ruined the general’s career, but may have lengthened the war. How did an obscure staff officer gain so much control over an army commander? In 2010, the speaker discovered Colonel Key’s never-before-published correspondence, spurring a reexamination of the military and political career of General George McClellan.

All age 50-plus active men are invited to attend the Tuesday morning meetings of the Summit Area Old Guard. Meetings are held at the New Providence Municipal Center, 360 Elkwood Ave., New Providence. A coffee hour starts at 9:15 a.m., followed by a 10 a.m. business meeting brightened by singing and humor. The speaker begins at 10:30 a.m.

Old Guard members participate in sports, bridge, hikes, trips, plays, concerts and other cultural events. Call Jerry Hay at 551-482-4238 for more information about the Old Guard or visit www.SummitOldGuard.org.