Mammoth albumen photograph of James A. Garfield, 15 x 18 in., mounted and professionally framed to 26 x 30 in. Gardner made this negative less than a month after the future president was promoted to major general, and just two months before he resigned his commission to serve in the House of Representatives. A rare pose in any form, but exceedingly rare in this largest size.
A Buckeye native and twentieth president of the United States, James A. Garfield (1831-1881) was mortally wounded by an unbalanced assassin and died just four months into his term on September 19, 1881. As a volunteer officer, Garfield's Civil War career was often marked by luck, being in the right place at the right time, and benefited in no small measure from close political ties. Garfield demonstrated organizational ability and raised the 42nd Ohio, becoming its colonel in December 1861. His first action was in Kentucky where he defeated Confederate Humphrey Marshall at Big Sandy Valley, and this was quickly followed by a promotion to brigadier general. He led a brigade at Shiloh and participated in Corinth operations without particular aplomb. In poor health, Garfield was assigned to the military commission that tried Fitz-John Porter and he is forever associated with that tainted affair. Garfield then returned to the Army of the Cumberland in a high profile position as General Rosecrans' chief of staff, and in the wake of the Chickamauga disaster, as heads inevitably rolled, he emerged unscathed with a promotion to major general. Having been elected to the House of Representatives as a Republican, Garfield resigned his commission in December 1863 and went on to serve nine terms before being elected president in 1880.
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