Courtesy of the National Archives
American history buffs everywhere shared a collective groan today as we learned from a that amateur historian Dr. Thomas Lowry of Virginia tampered with the April 14, 1864 presidential pardon of Civil War veteran Private Patrick Murphy of California who was court-martialed for desertion, according to a press release issued by the National archives. It appears that while visiting the National Archives about 13 years ago Lowry took matters into his own hand with his Pelikan pen and changed the year manually to 1865 on the original document.
And why would he do this, you ask? Attention. Greed. Perhaps a wee bit of crazy. After news spread regarding his "find" he received nationwide attention for locating a document that might possibly be Lincoln's last act as President before his assassination later that evening during a production of Our American Cousin at Washington D.C.'s Fords Theatre.