Publication information
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Source: Lexington Leader
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “The First Bullet”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Lexington, Kentucky
Date of publication: 24 September 1901
Volume number: none
Issue number: none
Pagination: 6

“The First Bullet.” Lexington Leader 24 Sept. 1901: p. 6.
full text
George F. Foster; McKinley assassination (George F. Foster account); McKinley assassination; William McKinley (protection); presidential assassination.
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; George F. Foster; James A. Garfield; William McKinley.
The phrase “Secret Service” appears below with and without capitalization in accordance with the original source.


The First Bullet


Believed to Have Been the One That Caused the President’s Death.

     Wrapped in a little piece of silk and deposited in a pocket book [sic] which he wears next to his heart, George Foster carries the bullet which Czolgosz fired at President McKinley, but which failed to take effect. Foster is a secret service detective who was detailed on many occasions to protect Mr. McKinley from annoyance and possible injury. He was standing a few feet away from the President when the assassin fired. He has submitted his report of the tragedy in the Temple of Music, and in it relates the following colloquy between him and the wounded Chief Magistrate as the latter was being borne in an ambulance from the Exposition grounds. The President was conscious, though in great pain. Foster, who was supporting him, saw him reach inside his blood-stained waistcoat and then remark:
     “Foster, what is this? It feels like a bullet?”
     “I felt it very carefully,” says Foster in his report, “and told him it was a bullet.”
     “Very good, that leaves only one,” rejoined the President.
     It is this bullet which Foster wears next to his heart.
     It is the popular impression that the first shot which Czolgosz fired is the one which struck a button and glanced off, doing no injury, but in the judgment of Foster and other Secret Service men who were present that bullet was the second one which came from the Anarchist’s revolver. This is explained on the theory that there was the usual recoil of the gun after the first shot was fired, and in his haste to make certain his deadly work Czolgosz had no time to take deliberate aim again, and thus shot a little higher the second time.
     Although President McKinley understood the wisdom of [the] precautions taken to guard against untoward incidents, he believed, as Gen. Garfield did, that assassination was a thing that could not be absolutely guarded against. On a certain occasion when a member of the Cabinet cautioned him against mingling too freely with the people, and pointed out the danger of a murderous attack, the President said:
     “If any man is determined to sacrifice his own life in order to kill me or any other person, he will find a way to do it despite all precautions.”



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