A Stalwart for the Stalwarts

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by William_Dellinger, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. William_Dellinger Grasshopper King of AH

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    A Stalwart for the Stalwarts

    An Alternate History by LordVetinari and William_Dellinger


    [​IMG]


    I am a Stalwart of the Stalwarts! I did it and I want to be arrested! Arthur is President now!”


    -Charles J. Guiteau, July 2nd, 1881, after shooting President James A. Garfield at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station, Washington D.C.



    Part One: Shots in a Crowded Station




    [​IMG]


    From- “The Garfield Presidency 1881-1890” published by DelRay Books, New York City, New York Copyright 2009



    It can be surmised, that few people at the time of the July 2nd assassination attempts aftermath, would have given much in the way of success of the Presidents recovery. In fact, several papers gave erroneous reports that President Garfield was already dead, and that his death had been hidden to allow the family some privacy. However, they later retracted it when they were given the straight facts of his continued survival, however weak and near death he actually was, with many apologetic retractions and hastily edited headlines before they were sent to print again. Day and night vigils were held, while many worried about whether the erroneous headlines of earlier, would prove to be true or some miracle might occur, and health would be restored to President Garfield.



    In fact it was a stroke of mistiming on the part of the assassin that prevented the wounds from being fatal. His traveling part consisted of his two oldest sons, James Rudolph and Harry Augustus, Speaker of the House James G. Blaine, and Robert Todd Lincoln. However, it was a slight nudge that Harry gave his father, to steer him towards the right exit for the platform that had the greatest impact on the course of events. Of the two shots fired, both were to be later recovered. The first was found in the wall of the station later, having grazed President Garfield’s right arm. The second one hit his right shoulder blade, embedding itself inside. Reports state that Garfield exclaimed “My God, what is this!” Several people either attempted to escape, fearing perhaps a further onslaught of gun-fire or something else.



    Guiteau was beset by several passerby however, and one man broke Guiteaus nose with the silver top of his cane after striking him repeatedly in the face with it. However, Robert Lincoln managed to prevent the mob of outraged men who were assaulting Guiteau, from killing him by reasoning he must stand trial. The limp and battered and somewhat disturbed officer-seeker was carried off by Washington D.C. police officers to a nearby police holding station. Accounts state that a cab driver noted the man had earlier asked for him to take him to the nearest jail, due to Guiteau planning for his incarceration. Other reports state that he “Shouted expletives of the most vulgar sort, scaring several young ladies, and offending the ears of many decent citizens.”



    As for the President, he had been able to stay lucid and conscience long enough to be helped into a cab, before the blood loss and shock caused him to fall unconscious. As the cab hastily sped through the streets of the capital, already word was being sent to both the Vice-President and members of Congress in Washington, who were still there during the adjournment for a brief break. Without definite knowledge of whether he was still alive, or indeed would remain so, many were unsure of exactly what to do. Unlike when Lincoln had been shot, there was scant information on where the Presidents location was, his status, and if there was a second plot to try to topple the government was at hand. However, as reports came in, confirming the President still lived and the assassin had been a lone man, things began to coalesce more into definite action.



    The cab containing the President, Speaker Blaine, and Harry and James arrived at the nearest local hospital, seeking to gain some treatment. Doctors at the hospital were surprised and horrified to find that the man being rushed inside was the President. Blaine promised he would return, but had to get to the Capitol to oversee and report to the House. Harry and James stayed by their father’s side, while asking that a message be sent to the First Lady informing her of the situation. As some of the hospital staff crowded to see, the President briefly regained his senses and as he was carried past the people groaned about “damned gawkers”. The doctor given the task of performing the surgery was an avid proponent of Joseph Lister’s ideas on hospital hygiene, which were largely still a curious idea at the time. Many doctors most likely would have stuck unwashed hands and instruments into wounds, providing an avenue for germs and bacteria to enter into the wound, and start perhaps a gangrenous infection. Such was not the case here.



    After around two hours of preparation and actual surgery, the President was taken to the White House, bandaged and knocked out. While dangers of infection were still great due to possible bacteriological elements getting onto fresh wrappings, the dangers were lessened.



    After being received back at the White House by his distressed family, he was taken upstairs and allowed to rest. It would be a month before his health would return, though a dangerous fever because of the Washington heat would force him to be moved to the Jersey Shore that September, for better recuperation. It was to the relief of the nation and well-wishers abroad, that on September 20th, 1881, that he had finally overcome his fever and wounds, and would return to Washington within a week or so.


     
  2. William_Dellinger Grasshopper King of AH

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    So.... Nothing?
     
  3. Wolfpaw Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    Location:
    God Hates Flags
    Color me interested. I've always had a soft spot for Garfield.

    How did you put that excellent newspaper page together?
     
  4. LordVetinari Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Heart Below The Great Mitten.
    MS Paint and Six Glasses of Milk at Three in the Morning....
     
  5. LordVetinari Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Heart Below The Great Mitten.
    Anyone else have comment?
     
  6. DTF955Baseballfan 12-time All-Star in some TL

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Location:
    10 miles north of 10 miles south
    I liked that you were sure to mention the surgical teechniques, especially Dr. Lister's. I just finished a book book, the memoirs of a doctor written in 1935, about all the chagnes in those 60 years since he'd been in medical school. (My aprents found it at an antique show, it eventually was given to a cousin who just finished his residency) It's fascinating how even then, surgery was so different from today - infections were often worse than anything.

    I notice you list the Garfield Presidency from 1881-1890 - did you mean to type 1889 or are you foreshadowing something else?

    And is there some reason why the opening of Tuskegee Institute was also on that page? (I only caught it the 2nd time when i gave a further glance, but still, it's quite interesting that that's with it.:cool:)

    I sure hope that temperature is a different Celsius scale than we use today, though.:eek: 61 C would b...if it's 9/5 + 32 like I think I remember, well, let's just say that summer in Washington was even hotter than I thought.:D
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  7. SavoyTruffle Illennial

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    Location:
    Tamriel
    Pretty nice. So the real POD is a doctor who appreciates Lister's work?
     
  8. LordVetinari Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Heart Below The Great Mitten.
    That, and the shots graze and imbed in his shoulder and arm. They don't go into his back, which is a bit more risky operation to...

    As for the Tuskegee, it opened on the 4th, so I felt it should be mentioned.
     
  9. SavoyTruffle Illennial

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    Location:
    Tamriel
    Now I wonder what a longer Garfield presidency would go - perhaps with him pushing for more civil service reform?
     
  10. LordVetinari Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Heart Below The Great Mitten.
    Perhaps. You'll have to wait and see.
     
  11. Darth_Kiryan The Númenorean Sith

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Location:
    AUS
    Hhmmmm. Interesting. A Garfield Presidency, eh? Consider me subscribed.
     
  12. The Professor Pontifex Collegii Vexillographiariorum

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Location:
    Collegium Vexillarum
    I assume it's a typo probably reversing the 5/9 or 32 bit on converting from Fahrenheit :D.

    How would a Garfield presidency go? Looks like the metric system gets adopted...
     
  13. SavoyTruffle Illennial

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    Location:
    Tamriel
    I'd assume part of Garfield's reforms would be going metric more vigorously ;)
     
  14. LordVetinari Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Heart Below The Great Mitten.
    Yeah, bit of a typo...but Washington D.C. is and was a hot place, because of its former swampy nature. One of the reasons why he was moved to Jersey Shore because of the heat causing his wounds to become in danger of getting infected in the Washington Heat. In fact, they had one of the first air conditioning devices installed to keep him cool.

    Anyways, yeah, a bit of a typo, but blame me for not converting well...and this from a fahrenheit American.

    Naval Reform is going to come up, along with civil rights, etc.
     
  15. DTF955Baseballfan 12-time All-Star in some TL

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Location:
    10 miles north of 10 miles south
    Oh, yes, I know the feeling - even as a Fahrenheit American I am often getting those conversions mixed up, too.

    This should be interesting.
     
  16. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Location:
    Syracuse, Haudenosaunee, Vinland
    Hmm... interesting
     
  17. DanMcCollum P-WI

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Wauwatosa, WI
    God old Garfield. I hope his presidency ends up being a successful one; he'll likely get some public sympathy from this, and with the assassin being such a Stalwart, we're likely to see some civil serfive reforms. But will they be the same ones that Arthur was able to get through? Interesting.
    Also, i wonder what effect this will have on Robert T. Lincoln. Witnessing Garfield's assassination weighed heavily on him, expecially considering what occured to his father. Sarah Vowell once nicknamed him Jinxy McDeath, considering his close proximity to the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. It was a name that Lincoln himself would have whole heartedly agreed with. Apparently, when he was once invited to the Whitehouse by Harding, he complained that "You know now, what you ask." Oddly enough Harding had the good nature to die at a later date.
    Without a feeling of being cursed, possibly Lincoln will be a bit more willing to take part in a broader political career. He was a rather capable Secretary of War and a moderate reformer, back in Chicago. Although his why and reserved nature, coupled with the public expectation that he run for office, always seemed to work against him desiring a larger political career.
     
  18. LordVetinari Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Heart Below The Great Mitten.
    There will be stuff involving Robert T. Lincoln.
     
  19. Plumber Manifest Destiny inspired Lebensraum

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Location:
    北京Beijing
    Garfield, eh? Good. Susbscribed. :cool:
    And remember Robert T. Lincoln wasn't perfect... I recently read about illegal campaign contributions from him "to be a good Party man" or something like that. Compared to the rest of the folks in the Gilded Age though, very fine stuff.
     
  20. Darth_Kiryan The Númenorean Sith

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Location:
    AUS
    bump.

    bumpity-bump.