James L. Lucas Manuscript (c.00086)
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. This manuscript was typed by Paul S. Lucas from James Lucas' narration. 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 in the war years, including a description of Lincoln in great detail. The Veteran Reserve Corps 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.