1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Logan, John Alexander

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

LOGAN, JOHN ALEXANDER (1826-1886), American soldier and political leader, was born in what is now Murphysborough, Jackson county, Illinois, on the 9th of February 1826. He had no schooling until he was fourteen; he then studied for three years in Shiloh College, served in the Mexican War as a lieutenant of volunteers, studied law in the office of an uncle, graduated from the Law Department of Louisville University in 1851, and practised law with success. He entered politics as a Douglas Democrat, was elected county clerk in 1849, served in the State House of Representatives in 1853-1854 and in 1857, and for a time, during the interval, was prosecuting attorney of the Third Judicial District of Illinois. In 1858 and 1860 he was elected as a Democrat to the National House of Representatives. Though unattached and unenlisted, he fought at Bull Run, and then returned to Washington, 'resigned his seat, and entered the Union army as colonel of the 3ISl'Illll'1OlS Volunteers, which he organized. He was regarded as one of the ablest officers who entered the army from civil life. In Grant's campaigns terminating in the capture of Vicksburg, which city Logan's division was the first to enter and of which he was military governor, he rose to the rank of major-general of volunteers; in November 1863 he succeeded Sherman in command of the XY. Army Corps; and after the death of McPherson he was in command of the Army of the Tennessee at the battle of Atlanta. When the war closed, Logan resumed his political career as a Republican, and was a member of the National House of Representatives from 1867 to 1871, and of the United States Senate from 1871 until 1877 and again from 1879 until his death, which took place at Washington, D.C., on the 26th of December 1886. He was always a violent partisan, , and was identified with the radical wing of the Republican party. In 1868 he was one of the managers in the impeachment of President Johnson. His war record and his great personal following, especially in the Grand Army of the Republic, contributed to his nomination for Vice-President in 1884 on the ticket with James G. Blaine, but he was not elected. His impetuous oratory, popular on the platform, was less adapted to the halls of legislation. He was commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic from 1868 to 1871, and in this position successfully urged the observance of Memorial or Decoration Day, an idea which probably originated with him. He was the author of The Great Conspiracy: Its Origin and History (1886), a partisan account of the Civil War, and of The Volunteer Soldier of America (1887). There is a fine statue of him by St Gaudens in Chicago.

The best biography is that by George F. Dawson, The Life and Services of Gen. John A. Logan, as Soldier and Statesman (Chicago and, New York, 1887).