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James L. Lucas manuscript

Identifier: c-00086

Scope and Contents

The collection contains the manuscript "The Burial of John Wilkes and Tale of the Lincoln Conspirators as Told by James L. Lucas to Paul S. Lucas." In the manuscript, James Lucas describes the American political scene in the 1850s and the coming of the Civil War. He gives an eyewitness account of Washington, D. C. in the war years, including a detailed description of President Abraham Lincoln. Lucas spent three years with the 12th Veteran Reserve Corps, who served as guards for the Old Capitol Prison, where the Lincoln conspirators were held. Lucas also served as a court messenger during the prisoners' trial, and he describes the conspirators as well as the trial itself. In addition, Lucas tells of guarding the body of John Wilkes Booth on the monitor "Montauk" and of the secret burial of the assassin's body in the Old Capitol prison. This manuscript has been scanned and placed online at


  • Creation: undated

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biographical Note

James L. Lucas, an English immigrant, enlisted in the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry in July 1862. A month later he was seriously wounded at the battle of Thoroughfare Gap. When he recovered he received a transfer to the 12th Veterans Reserve Corps, stationed in Washington, D.C., where he spent the next three years.


0.1 Cubic Feet (, 1 folder)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Gift of Paul S. Lucas, 1960-04-15. Transferred by Michigan State University Museum.

Legal Status

Copyright: Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to Michigan State University but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Copyright restrictions may apply.

Property Rights: Michigan State University

James L. Lucas Manuscript
4 Published And Cataloged
February 1965
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US