Matthew B. Gilmore
Map of Location of President Garfield Shooting
Map indicating location of shooting of President James A. Garfield (click to enlarge) showing current buildings and roads superimposed over an 1880s map.
The location of Garfield’s shooting is currently unmarked and is north of the National Gallery of Art in the middle of the roadway of Constitution Avenue (as indicated – see map above). The station was demolished in 1907. B Street was later enlarged and transformed into Constitution Avenue.
July 2, 1881, 9:20am
At 9:20 A.M. Charles Guiteau shoots President Garfield in the back at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station in Washington, D.C. Garfield, walking into the station with Secretary of State James Blaine and with his sons Jim and Harry following behind, had been on his way to visit his alma mater, Williams College in Massachusetts.
Guiteau is captured as he attempts to flee the train station and asks to be taken to jail. As Guiteau is ushered outside, he says, “I did it. I will go to jail for it. I am a Stalwart and Arthur will be President.” A porter in the station later recalls, “I truly believe that if they hadn’t been so many officers present, the man [Guiteau] would have been strung up then and there.”
Within an hour, ten doctors arrive at the station to examine the president, including Charles Purvis, who would become the first black doctor to treat a president of the United States. Doctors probe the wound with unwashed hands trying to determine the location of the bullet. Garfield is conscious and dictates a telegraph to be sent to Lucretia, who is still resting on the Jersey shore.
Exterior of old Pennsylvania Station, 6th & B Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C., as it appeared in the 1880’s showing street traffic in front and insert of interior. LC-USZ62-101232
The Baltimore and Potomac railroad station,
photograph, Gallery Archives, National Gallery of Art
Pres. James Garfield,
Library of Congress Call Number: LC-BH826- 1484 A
No upcoming events