Iron Ankle Shackles worn by the Abraham Lincoln Conspirators

These ankle shackles confined the Lincoln conspirators. Emotions were so strong that the defendants were bound—with the exception of Mary Surratt, the only woman—even during the trial.
John Wilkes Booth’s attack on Lincoln was part of a larger plot to assassinate national leaders and throw the North into turmoil. The conspirators also planned to murder Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward. Besides Booth, eight individuals were charged. Because the plot was considered an act of war, a military commission tried the accused. The court sentenced four suspects to be hanged, and the others to prison.
Transfer from the War Department, 1904
Currently not on view
Object Name
shackles, ankle
Physical Description
iron (overall material)
overall: 1 1/8 in x 17 1/2 in x 4 1/8 in; 2.8956 cm x 44.45 cm x 10.5156 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Government, Politics, and Reform
Selections from the Abraham Lincoln Collection
See more items in
Political History: Political History, General History Collection
Selections from the Abraham Lincoln Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Related Publication
Rubenstein, Harry R.. Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.