Discovery at the National Archives

Records of the Judge Advocate General (Army) National Archives

Close up of the Lincoln pardon for Patrick Murphy, a Civil War soldier in the Union Army, showing the date change.

Archivist of the United States David Ferriero announced today that Thomas Lowry, a long-time researcher and Lincoln expert, confessed to altering a Lincoln document owned by the Archives. According to the press release, about a dozen years ago, Lowry brought in a fountain pen containing pigment-based ink and changed the year on a presidential pardon from 1864 to 1865. "Lowry was then able to claim that this pardon was of significant historical relevance because it could be considered one of, if not the final official act by President Lincoln before his assassination."

Conservators at the National Archives will now assess whether the original date can be restored.