In 1831, on this day the twentieth President of the United States James A. Garfield was born in Moreland Hills, Ohio.
Birth of President James A. GarfieldIn 1881 he was shot once in the arm and once in the back by Charles J. Guiteau at the Sixth Street Station of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad on the National Mall in Washington.
Although the first bullet only caused a graze, the second was initially thought to have lodged near his liver. However the hopelessly incompetent Dr. Doctor Willard Bliss was completely wrong, and the bullet was actually located behind the pancreas, a discovery made by a metal detector devised by the brilliant Scottish inventor Alexander Graham Bell.
Aside from the creation of the mocking expression "Ignorance if Bliss", the event was quickly forgotten because Garfield, like many other veterans were unfazed by such an injury. In fact one of the detectives who took Guiteau to the district jail still had a Civil War bullet lodged in his head. However the consequence of his survival was huge; as soon as his recovered, he quickly resumed his radical programme of reform that would change Washington forever.