President James A. Garfield dies of gunshot wounds 130 years ago this hour

(Monday, September 19, 1901, 10:35 p.m.) — James A. Garfield, 20th President of the United States, died today in Long Branch, New Jersey, of a massive heart attack or a ruptured splenic artery aneurysm, following blood poisoning and bronchial pneumonia, all complications from gunshot wounds inflicted by an assassin on July 2, 1881.

Garfield, who was 49 years old, was the second American president to be assassinated (after Lincoln in 1865).

Vice President Chester Arthur was at his home in New York City when word came tonight that Garfield had died. After first getting the news, Arthur said “I hope—my God, I do hope it is a mistake.” But confirmation by telegram came soon after.

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