President Garfield’s Condition: September 16, 1881, 6:00 PM

Portraits of Garfield's six doctors surround an illustration of the President on his sickbedELBERON, N. J.,
September 16, 1881.

6 P. M.
At the examination of the President at 12 M. to-day the temperature was 99.8°; pulse, 116; respiration, 21. At the evening dressing, at 5.30 P. M., the temperature was 98.6°; pulse, 104; respiration, 22. A slight febrile rise occurred at 11 A. M., and had entirely subsided at 2 o’clock P. M. The condition of the wound remains unchanged; the cough has not been so frequent or persistent, but the sputa still remains purulent. Nourishment and stimulants have been given in increased quantities without discomfort. Altogether his general condition cannot be said to be improved.


This post is one of a series reenacting the official bulletins released to the public by the physicians to President Garfield during his illness after the shooting on July 2, 1881.


  1. Relax, passengers. The Titanic has just stopped for a bit of ice. Nothing to be alarmed about. Why are they taking the covers off of the boats? I’m glad you asked. It’s time for lifeboat drills. You can never be too prepared, haha.

  2. Imagine how readers of the day were transfixed as the bulletins were issued, reprinted, and discussed in the media. We have a different experience now, with the advantage of hindsight and the rich historical record, but the human impact of Garfield’s suffering is still powerful. Thank you for following this unfolding story.

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