White House draped in mourning for President Garfield, September 1881.

White House draped in mourning for President Garfield, September 1881. Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center

On July 2, 1881, Charles J.Guiteau twice shot and greviously wounded President Garfield at Washington's Baltimore and Potomac station. The president was taken to the White House and was treated by a half dozen physicians who tried to remove a bullet in his back with bare hands and unsterilized instruments. Garfield asked to be taken to the New Jersey seaside on September 6 to advance his recuperation. He died there on September 19. It was expected that President Garfield's body would be returned to lie in state in the East Room, as had Lincoln's. However, it was decided that Garfield would be taken directly to the Capitol. On September 21, the coffin containing the remains of the president arrived in Washington in an elaborately decorated funeral car and was borne by honor guard from the station to the Capitol rotunda. Laden with flowers, and adorned with stuffed doves of peace, 100,000 mourners viewed the coffin over several days. Garfield was taken to Cleveland, Ohio, for burial on September 26, 1881.


»  William Henry Harrison


»  Zachary Taylor


»  Abraham Lincoln


›  James A. Garfield

»  William McKinley


»  Warren G. Harding


»  Franklin D. Roosevelt


»  John F. Kennedy




Additional Resources  ›

»  Ceremonial Horses & Funerals [PDF]

»  Modern Mourning Observations


William Seale, The President's House, White House Historical Association, 1986.

Brian Lamb, Who's Buried in Grant's Tomb, C-SPAN, 2000.