Logan, John Alexander

Logan, John Alexander,

1826–86, American politician, Union general in the Civil War, b. Murphysboro, Ill. He fought in the Mexican War and practiced law in Illinois. A Democrat who supported Stephen A. Douglas, he served several terms in the state legislature and was elected to Congress in 1858 and 1860. At the first battle of Bull Run (July, 1861), Logan fought in the ranks. Afterward he organized the 31st Illinois Infantry, of which he was made colonel. He served at Fort Donelson (1862) and in the Vicksburg campaign (1862–63). Logan led a corps of the Army of the Tennessee in General Sherman's Atlanta campaign (1864) and commanded that army for a short time. However, Oliver O. Howard was given the permanent command, and Logan returned to his corps for the march through the Carolinas. A radical Republican Congressman (1867–71), he was one of the House managers of the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson. From 1871 to 1877 and from 1880 until his death he was a U.S. Senator from Illinois. He was the Republican candidate for Vice President in 1884. A founder, and three times president, of the Grand Army of the Republic, Logan was a prominent supporter of legislation for veterans. He inaugurated Memorial DayMemorial Day,
holiday in the United States observed in late May. Previously designated Decoration Day, it was inaugurated in 1868 by Gen. John A. Logan for the purpose of decorating the graves of Civil War veterans and has since become a day on which all war dead are commemorated.
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 in 1868. He wrote The Volunteer Soldier of America (1887).


See studies by J. P. Jones (1967) and by his wife, M. S. Logan (1913, abr. ed. 1970).

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Logan, John Alexander

(1826–86) soldier, U.S. representative/senator; born in Jackson County, Ill. A lawyer, he volunteered to fight in the Mexican War, then served in the U.S. House of Representatives (Dem., Ill.; 1859–62). During the Civil War, he held high commands with the Union Army of Tennessee, despite occasional charges that he was a Southern sympathizer. After the war he initiated the first Decoration (Memorial) Day, May 30, 1868. Switching to the Republican Party, he served Illinois as a U.S. representative again (1867–71) and then as senator (1871–77, 1879–86) and ran an unsuccessful campaign for the vice-presidency (1884).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.