Saturday, May 28, 2011

In honor of Memorial Day 2011: General John A. Logan

Logan statue, March 2011
My Memorial Day series continues.

Civil War General John A. Logan is largely forgotten, but in his day he was a major political figure. At the outbreak of the the Civil War, Logan was a congressman from southern Illinois. In his Personal Memoirs, Ulysses S. Grant wrote of the questionable loyalty of Logan's constituents, which Grant said consisted of "people [originally] from the Southern States, and at the breaking out of secession they sympathized with the South." Grant added about Logan, "As he went in politics, so his district was sure to go."

Logan went with the Union. He served with Grant at Fort Donelson and Vicksburg, and also fought at the first Manassas and Corinth. In late 1864, Grant became disenchanted with General George H. Thomas' performance in the Nashville campaign, he sent Logan to relieve him, but Thomas routed the Confederates before he arrived.

After the war Logan, like Grant, became a Republican. Twice he was a US senator, and he was the Republican nominee for vice president in 1884.

Fitting with his status, Logan's body lay in state in the Rotunda of the US Capitol.

Logan Circle in Washington and Chicago's Logan Square, as well as three counties are named for this great American. Pictured is Logan's statue Chicago's Grant Park.

Illinois' state song name just three people: Abraham Lincoln, Grant, and Logan.

UPDATE May 29:

Wow, how did I miss this? Hat tip to commenter Brett:

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.
Related posts:

In honor of Memorial Day 2011: San Francisco's Union Square
In honor of Memorial Day 2011: Ronald Reagan Park in Tampico, Illinois
Vicksburg Battlefield, Part One
Vicksburg Battlefield, Part Two, State Memorials
Vicksburg Battlefield, Part Three, Illinois Memorial
Vicksburg Battlefield, Part Four, The USS Cairo
Vicksburg Battlefield Part Five
Midwestern Presidential Pathway: Where Grant worked as a clerk
Midwestern Presidential Pathway: Ulysses S. Grant Home
150 years ago: Civil War begins 


Brett said...

Nice post. I'm surpised that you left out the fact that he is actually the Founder of Memorial Day.

Marathon Pundit said...