Keys to the Abraham Lincoln Conspirators Prison Cells


Once captured, the Lincoln conspirators were closely and constantly guarded. During their trial, iron keys locked their prison cells.

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

Associated Date: 1865

Associated Person: Lincoln, Abraham

Location: Currently not on view

Used In: United States: District of Columbia, Fort Lesley J. McNair

Subject: AssassinationPrisonsRelated Event: Assassination of Abraham Lincoln


See more items in: Political and Military History: Political History, General History Collection, Government, Politics, and Reform, Selections from the Abraham Lincoln Collection


Exhibition Location:

Related Publication: Rubenstein, Harry R.. Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life

Credit Line: War Department

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: PL.010238aCatalog Number: 10238aAccession Number: 42272

Object Name: key

Physical Description: iron (overall material)Measurements: overall: 10 7/8 in x 4 in x 7/8 in; 27.6225 cm x 10.16 cm x 2.2225 cm


Record Id: nmah_524528

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