Patrick Murphy, a soldier in the Union Army who was court-martialed for desertion, was pardoned by Lincoln on April 14, 1864. Lowry, however, changed the date to read April 14, 1865, the same day that John Wilkes Booth assassinated the 16th president at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
Abe Lincoln Doc Survived Donner Party Ordeal
By altering the date on the document, Lowry made it appear that this pardon was one of the final official acts performed by Lincoln in his duty as president.
Lowry confessed to the alteration after National Archives archivist Trevor Plante reported irregularities in the document. For his actions, Lowry has been permanently banned from the National Archives. In the future, conservators at the National Archives will look into restoring the document to its original date.