John Corson Smith.

Our comrade General John A. Logan ... October 13, 1904 online

. (page 1 of 1)
Online LibraryJohn Corson SmithOur comrade General John A. Logan ... October 13, 1904 → online text (page 1 of 1)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Our Comrade

John A. Logan

Compliments of

General John C. Smith

Our Comrade

General John A. Logan

Member of Ulysses S. Grant Post, No. 28

Department of Illinois

Grand Army of the Republic

October /j, 190^

By Commander Comrade General John C. Smith

Ex-Lieutenant (Jovemor, Etc.






("onu'adcs of riyssos S. (li'aiil Post and the (Iraiid Army
of the Rei)ul)li(', in addrossiiii;- you hricfly upon tlic life and
military services of (len. Jolui A. liOt^an, a l()n<i-tinu' nit>nihor
of this Post, I speak to soldiers many of whom served in his
command and all knew liim personally. This makes it more
pleasant to your speaker as it puts s]ieaker and audience in
closer touch, knowing that ail who knew Comrade Logan
admired and respected him for the brave soldier that he had
been, the tried and able statesman that he was and the pure
patriot he ever had ])r()ven himself.

No soldier wanted for a friend while (leiieral Logan lived,
and no statesman labored so well and so faithfully to secure
justice to tlie brave men wlio composed the armies of LS6I-60,
as our lamented Comrade.

History is but the record of wars punctuated with a few
great battles by which kingdoms have been overthrown,
empires enlarged, or the liberties of the peopl(> liave l)een
gained, as in our own War of the Revolution.

If it be true that "peace hath her victories no less re-
nowned than war," it is only through a pathway blazed by
the sword and cut witli the rifle, and which, I fear, it will be
until time shall be no more.

In the great wars of the world, and all along its history,
we find here and there a name which has survived the decay
and forgetfulness which befall all nature and most events.
Among the names of the past we recall an Alexander the Great,
a (':osar, or Hannibal; while in our own time, we liave a Napo-
l(M)n and a Wellington, a W^ashington and a Grant. Few are

the names of those who. as Heutenants and advisers of the
great commanders, survive the centuries. We will not attempt
to recall them, but content ourselves with those of the near past.
An Ethan Allen, Israel Putnam, Alexander Plamilton, Nathaniel
(ireene and General LaFayette are the best known associated
with the immortal Washington; while Generals W. T. Sherman,
Philij) H. Sheridan, George G. Meade, George H. Thomas
(the rock of Chickamauga), John A. Rawlins and John A.
Logan are the best known who served with the invincil:)le Grant.
Each named but the last two were educated soldiers, who, by
their skill and bravery, won imperishable fame, but it is of the
latter we would speak.

John A. Logan was a son of Illinois, as was John A. Rawlins,
and each were volunteer soldiers who, when the flag of their
country was assailed, left their peaceful avocations and drew
the sword in its defense. When the war ended, crowned with
glory they returned the sword to its scabbard and re-entered
peaceful pursuits.

Gen. John A. Logan was born in Jackson Count3\ Illinois,
February 9, 1826, and died in the Nation's Capital, Washing-
ton, I). C, December 26, 1886. Educated in the schools of
his native State, he had not yet attained the age of manhood
when the war with Mexico liegan. Taking up the musket
he enlisted for the war, and w^hen peace was restored returned
home a Lieutenant of "H" Company. 1st Regiment Illinois
Volunteers, and resumed his studies again. After a l^rief
academic course in a Kentucky educational institute, our
Comrade adopted the profession of law, and was soon after
elected the prosecuting attorney for his count}'. When but
twenty-six years of age he was elected to the State Legislature,
where he served for two terms. In 1858 he was elected to the
Congress of the I'nited States, and in 1860 re-elected by a
majority of over 18,000.

In the performance of his duties Comrade Logan was in
Washington, attending the special session of Congress, when
the disastrous battle of Bull Run was fought, and with other
members of the House of Representatives went out to the


battle-field, but to meet the Union troops retroatinp; in confusion.
Seizing a musket from a i)anic-stricken soUlier, lie vainly did
the best he could to stay the retreat. At the close of the
special session, our Comrade returned home with authority
from President Lincoln to recruit a rciriincnt for the war. He
went 1(1 l\is old lioiiic. ])()lili(';dly then in touch with the South-
rons who were in rchc^llion, antl whose people were charged
with being in sympathy with the rebels. Never was there so
base a slander, as was afterwards proven, for (leneral Logan's
district was one t)f the districts which filled ever}' call of the
immortal Lincoln for troops during the war without having
to resort to a draft, and had a surplus to its credit.

Rejiorting to General Grant with his regiment, the 31st
Illinois Infantry Volunteers, our Comrade was with that Great
Commander in his first battle at Belmont, where he did good

We next find him at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, w'here,
upon the right, he assisted in repelling the onslaught of Generals
Pillow and Floyd, and thus prevented the escape of their
forces. Severely wounded, by two bullets, he had to be
carried from the field, but not until the victory was won.

Returning home Comrade Logan recovered in time to
participate in the Siege of Corinth under that academic soldier,
General Halleck, who, through jealousy of the rising fame of
Grant, had relieved him of active command of the army and
nominated him as "second in command," a grade never before
known to our army and never revived since, which was
practically retirement in the face of the enemy. Having
been promoted to Brigadier-General and assigned a brigade,
Logan here developed the military instinct which proved
him a soldier. With his command astride the Mobile and Ohio
Railw^ay, which ran into Corinth, he heard the rumbling of the
heavy trains running in and out of the enemy's camp, and
believing the rebels were about to evacuate the place, so re-
ported to General Grant. That soldier, being only second in
command, could but forward the report of General Logan to
his superior, which he i:)romptly did, and with his own endorse-


iiieuts. Halleck treated the report with indifference, inti-
mating that Logan was ' ' talking through his hat " and that he had
better be attending to his duties and not writing such nonsense.
In the stiUness of the night the running of trains could more
distinctly be heard, and General Logan, applying his ear to
the rail, became convinced from the difference in sound that
the trains going into Corinth -were empty and those coming
out were heavily laden, again reported to General Grant,
asking permission to feel the enemy, and, if he found him
withdrawing, to attack. Impressed with Logan's earnestness,
General Grant endorsed and again sent the report to his
superior officer, who, angered with Logan's persistency,
threatened to relieve him of his command and put him under
arrest if he sent any more such reports.

It was unnecessary, as it was soon afterwards learned
that the enemy had evacuated Corinth as General Logan
feared and of which General Grant, in his Memoirs, says:
"May 28, 1862, General Logan informed me that the enemy
had been evacuating for several days, and that, if allowed,
he could go into Corinth with his brigade." Yet "Old Brains,"
as General Halleck was called, with a vastly superior force
than the enemy, after consuming six weeks in advancing
twenty miles, and intrenching an army of 100,000 on May
30th, issued his celebrated Corinth battle order, and in that
order he said: "There is every indication that the enemy
will attack our left this morning, as troops have been moving
in that direction for some time. It will be well to make prepa-
ration to send as many of the reserves as can be spared of the
right wing in that direction, as soon as an attack is made in
force." The army was sent into the trenches, and Halleck,
with a handful of spades, sat down to the game where Enfields
were trumps and artillery the winning card. There was no
enemy in his front. Beauregard had commenced to evacuate
Corinth, May 26th, and had entirely withdrawn May 29th, leaving
in his earthworks a lot of wooden artillery, "cjuaker guns,"
but not a sick or wounded Confederate.

Do you wonder that the (ireat Commander, the invincible

(irant, trusted Loiiaii. ami cai'ly i-ccoiiiuicikIccI liiiii for pro-

From ("oi'iiitli to the operations in ami alioiit \ icksl)ur<:;,
in conniiand of a dixision. in the army ot'tlrant. who had Ix'cn
restored to lull connnand. we iind oni- Comrade e\-ei- in the
front; Ins dix'ision (i<i.iilinu the hatth" of l{a\inond. and. with
(leneral Ilo\i\\"s Division of .MeClernaiurs Corps, winnin<j;
another victory, hnt two (hiys hiter, at Cliami)ion Hills.

ln\estin,u- X'icksluiru .Ma\- IS. istio. (nif distinunished Com-
rade oecnpied the center and most advanced [yosition in that
memorable sietre. .Inly 4. istio, (ieneral Pend)erton capitn-
lated. and. at th(> head of his ti'oops. ( ienei'al Lo<ian was the
first to enter tlie captured city. The national Ha<i-, " ( )ld ( dory,"
beloniiing to the 4oth Illinois, one of bo<;an's re<i-iments. was
the first to Hy from the courthouse, and that I'e^imeiit had
been commanded l)y a personal friend of mine whom many of
you have known. 1 refer to the coniieous and liallant (leu.
John ]•]. Smith, who has so r(>centl>' been detailed for duty
across the l)road ri\(>r of life, and is now bi\duacked on'Mame's
eternal campinti' ui-ound."

Dririnir our opei'ations at Chattanoojia. (leneral bofian,
who had become a Major Ci(Miei-al. was in command of all the
forceps along the lines of railway from Memphis to that city,
where I occasionally saw and m(>t him. and where \w joined the
combined armies of the Cumberland. Tennessee and Ohio,
preparatoi'y to ihe Atlanta campaign, commencing May 4,
1864. one of the world's greatest series of marches and battles.

For one Inmdred and twenty days we were engaged in con-
tinuous fighting and flanking. When not engaged in the attack
or assault, the men were kept busy dodging the bullets which,
like swai'nis of l)ee<. went zi])ping about their heads, or diving
into the i-ifle-pits to escape the burstinii' shell. N'olleys of
musketry sounded the daily reveille and the thunder of artillery
the nightly taps. Oidy thos(> who were i)resent can recall the
terrible physical and mental strain of those four long, hot
sunmier months of d(>s])erate fighting a determined foe com-
manded b\- one of their most skillful generals.

Ill this canipaign General T.og'an bore a distiiiiiiushed part
as the commander of the well-known Fifteenth Corps of the
Army of the Tennessee. When our army confronted Buzzard
Roost Gap and Rock}- Face Ridge. General McPherson was
sent with the Army of the Tennessee through Snake Creek
Gap with orders to throw his command across the railway,
assault Resaca, and prevent the retreat of Johnson's army as
Sherman attacked in front. Here, again, our brother dis-
played his soldierly ((ualities. Satisfied from the information
brought him b}- his scouts of the enemy's weakness, he asked
his Commander that he be permitted to attack the fortifi-
cations with one division of his corps, but was refused. The
army fell back and assumed the defensive, and Johnson

Of this failure to carry out his plans. General Sherman
wrote: "Such an opportunity does not occur twice in a single
life, but at the critical moment McPherson seems to have been
a little timid." And yet he was a trained soldier, while Logan
was but a volunteer. I would not undervalue the great work
of our military academy, nor detract from the fame and splen-
did services of Gen. James B. AlcPherson. for I think even
I^ogan would have been a better soldier had he had the aca-
demic training, but I do submit that a volunteer soldier may
be found capable of conunanding armies, as our loved Comrade
was, and that West Point never yet i)ut brains into a martinet.
But our loved companion and Comrade was yet to be put to
a crucial test of his ability to command an army, and it came
at a very trying time. A time when under orders to advance,
believing the enemy had evacuated Atlanta (July 22. 1S64)
and the troops were on the march, the enemy attacked in force.
General .McPherson was killed, and the command of the Army
of the Tennessee fell upon General Logan. Rapidly changing
front to meet the flank and rear attacks of the enemy, om-
distinguished Comrade rode down the lines, encouraging the
men. Leaping the hastily constructed bits of defense and
fighting froiu each side, the battle raged for hours. Boldly
and repeatedly the enemy attacked, and were as often repulsed





l)y (»ui' iiallaiil ('(Hiirailc's skilll'iil iiioNcniciit. - aii<l (lis|)(p>il ion
of troops, ("oiitiiiuoiisly i-iiliiiL!, liis lines, at times like a per-
fect (lemon of war, th(> hraxc l.oiian enthused tin- troops with
his own (hiriiiji; spirit, and with " .McPhersoii and \'iclor\' "
(which, litei-all\- t i-aiislaled, was "(iix-e ihcni liell. l)o\-s!")
for his l)attk'-cry, the dealh of theii' hrave commandei-. the
Chevalier Bayard of the I'liion army, was avon<;-e(l and Athinta

( )f this action (leneral Sherman says: '"I ])urposely
allowed the Ai-niy of th(> Tennessee to huht this haltle almost
unaided," and a few da>-s latcM- calleil a soldier of another
army, because he was a graduate of the military academy, to
the command of that iilorioiis Army of the Tennessee, which,
under the X'olunteer (lenei-al .lohii A. Loiian. had won him

"Was not that an act of injustice? Did oui- Comrade then
sulk or ask to l)e relieved? No; hut. like the true patriot and
brave soldier that he was. he went back to the connnaiid of his
loved Fifteenth Army Corps, and under the new commander
he s(>rved until the campaign (Mided in Se])tend)er at Jonesboi-o.

Of the conduct of Cieneral Logan and the ti'oops at .lones-
boro, the new commander said: "I wish to expi-ess my high
gratification with the conduct of the troops engaged. I never
saw better conduct in liattle. (Jeneral I.ogan, though ill and
much worn out, was indefatigable, and the success of the day
is as much attributable to him as to any one man."

And this is the salve General Sherman, whom we all lo\e,
applied to the wound with which he pierced the gallant heart
of our brave Conu-ade:

" Heachpuirters Militai'y Division of the .Mississippi,

■• In the Field near Atlanta, (la.. July 27, iSli-f.
'' Gencntl John A. Logan:

" Dear (ieneral : Take a good rest. I know you are worn
out with mental and physical work. No one could have a
higher ajipreciation of the responsibility thai devolved on you
so unexi)ectedly, and the noble maimer in which you met it.


I fear you will feel (Usai)p()inte(l at not succeeding permanently
to the command of the army and department. I assure you,
in giving preference to (Jeneral Howard. I will not fail to give
you every credit for having done so well. You have command
of a good corps, a command that I would prefer to the more
complicated one of a department, and if you will be patient
it will come to you soon enough. Be assured of my entire

1 will not criticise that letter, as this is not the time, neither
is it the place, and the few remaining minutes at my disposal
will not permit. But I will invite your attention, briefly, to
what another wrote of Logan one year before — one who was
never known to make a mistake in his judgment of soldiers
competent to command. Writing of the battle of Raymond,
May 12, 1863, and his opinion of the division commanders,
General Grant says: "I regarded Logan and Crocker (the
latter a young officer from Iowa) as being as competent division
commanders as could l)e found in or out of the army, and
both equal to a much higher command." In July following,
after the close of the Mcksburg campaign and the capture
of that city, the old commander wrote of these same two
officers: "Logan and Crocker ended the campaign, fitted to
command independent armies."

The Atlanta campaign successfully closed, the Presidential
canvass near an end, and the situation as to the re-election
of Mr. Lincoln doubtful, at the request of President Lincoln,
General Logan was given a leave of absence that he might
return to Illinois and assist the government at home as he had
done in the front, and upon all sides as he had at Atlanta,
which he ditl and returned to the field.

At this time Sherman was coming out at Savannah from his
march to the sea; General Thomas was at Nashville with Hood
in his front; General Grant, fearful that Hood would leave
Nashville and go into Kentucky, became impatient that Thomas
did not attack, and ordered General Logan to Tennessee to
relieve Thomas. Here was the opportunity for General


I-oiiaii li;nl lie licni possessed nf the im n'l liii.'ile ainliiliiiii he
was accused of, or the \iiidicl ixc spii-il he \\a> saiil In possess.
Cleiieral Sheniiaii had said thai he did not considec F-o^uii
"(Miual to the coimnand of thfee coi'ps." and that he was a
"politician l)y nalui'e and expei'ieiice," in all of which ( lenefal
'idiomas had au'i'cH'd. and had " fcinoiist fateil wai'inly against
my ((icnei'al Sliefniaii) I'ecoininendinti that (lenei'al Lo<i;an
shoulil he i'e<;iilafly assiiiiied to the coiiiinand of the Army of
the Tennes.see l)y reason of his actual seiiiofity.'" (leiieral
Lofi-an luul not l)eeii treated as an e(|ual in raid<. hy (leiieral
Thomas pendinii tlu> movements at Chat tanoof;a. and \-et ,
realizing what all this meant to (leneral Thomas, the magnani-
mous Logan delayed carrying General (Jrant's order into
execution and proceeded deliberately toward Nashville. Was
there ever such unselfishness displayed in high places? Was
self ever so ignored in the varioiis changes which had taken
place in the command of the Federal armies, and was act ever
more generous? To those who knew General Logan as your
speaker knew him, all this is quite plain and but characteristic
of the man. Conscious of his own integrity, he had no other
and)ition than to do right, todo his duty, to do unto others
as he woukl have them do unto him, and to supplant no man.

Arriving at Louisville, Ky., enroute to Nashville, and i)eing
informed that Thomas had attacked General Hood, doubled
u\) his left and was driving him, Logan wired General (irant
and asked that he he recalled and Thomas left in command of
his army.

General Logan was recalled, proceeded to rejoin his old
command, and shortly thereafter was assigned to the command
of the Army of the Tennessee, and was its commander at the
time of muster out on the close of that great war for the I'liion.

Returning to civil life, our Comrade was soon callecl upon
to take a seat in the halls of Congress as a mend:)er-at-large
from Illinois, and in 1871 he was elected to the .'Senate of the
United States.

In 1878 it was my good fortune to head the ticket for State
officers, and General Logan being a candidate for re-election


to the Senate, we canvassed the State together. During the
several months of that exciting campaign we traveled and
spoke together, and I came to know General Logan as I never
before knew him.

That he was a patriot, and a soldier competent to "com-
mand independent armies," is the testimony of that great
soldier whose honored name this Grand Army Post bears,
who never failed in the selection of his lieutenants — Ulysses S.
Grant. That he was an honest, able and incorruptible states-
man, the records of the Congress of the United States attest:
As a citizen, he did his full duty; as a father, he was kind and
considerate ; while, as a husband, the love of that wife who still
lives, gives ample proof.

A few more words and I am done. It was my good fortune
to be the Lieutenant-Governor of this great State wiien Senator
Logan was a candidate for re-election the third time, and, as
President of the State Senate, I frequently presided in joint
session of both Houses during that long and exciting election,
made so by the two parties having an equal number of votes
on joint l^allot. That I several times saved General Logan
from defeat, when unlawful means were resorted to, notably
when the House refused to place upon its rolls of membership
the name of Capt. William H. Weaver, who had been elected
to fill a vacancy caused by the death of a member of the House,
are well-know^n facts. But those days are past, and the General
was re-elected, serving his coiuitry in its highest legislative
branch until called to a brighter and better land.

With the Governor and other State officers I attended the
funeral of our dear Comrade in the Senate Chamber of the
LTnitecl States and served as an honorary pall-bearer. General
Logan was a Freemason from his earliest manhood and had
become a member of Chevalier Bayard Commandery of this
city, which Commandery sent me its beauseant to drape the
casket of their loved Sir Knight, and learning that it would be
pleasing to the loving and disconsolate wife that was left to
moiu'n, I saw his casket wrapped with that emblem of our



Comrade's faith, as it was with the flag of the country he had
so nobly served, and they were buried with him.

As all earthly things decay and disappear from view,
taking on some other form of usefulness antl beauty, I think
in the dim future that I see the morning sun take up the colors
of our flag to beautify its refulgent rays, allotting its stars to
the blue firmament about it. While, as Constantine of old saw
the emblem of our faith in the heavens on the eve of ]:)attle
assuring him of victory, so I see the cross of that Templar
banner of Chevalier Bayard Commandery in the glorious light
of the rising sun, and beside it the spirit of our Companion and
Comrade, Major General John Alexander Logan.

Comrades of the Grand Army of the Republic! As our
ranks are being depleted and we approach the pontoon upon
which to cross to that eternal Camping Ground upon which
our Commanders are nearly all bivouacked, may we not as we
pass in review the memory of the great deeds of our loved
Comrade and Commander General, John A. Logan, exclaim:
"Morituri te SahUant!"


"Morituri te salutant;"

Say the soldiers, as they pass;
Not in uttered words they say it,

But we feel it as they pass:
"We that are about to perish —

We salute you as we pass."

On his pawing steed the General

Scans the waves of men that pass

And his eyes at times are misty,
Then are blazing, as they pass;

And his breast with pride is heaving
As the stalwart veterans pass.

rjallant chiefs, their swords presenting.
Trail them proudly as they pass;

Battle banners, torn and glorious,
Dip, saluting, as they pass;

Brazen clangors shake the welkin
As the marching columns pass.

Oh, our comrades! gone before us.
In the last review to pass,

Never more to earthly chieftain
Dipping colors as you pass —

Heaven accord you gentle judgment
When before its throne you pass!

Naught of golden pomp or glitter

Marks the veterans as they pass;

Travel-stained, but bronzed and sinewy.
Firmly, proudly on they pass;

And we hear them — "Morituri
Te salutant," as they pass.

To the souls of all our perished
We, who still saluting pass,

Dip the flag and trail the saber

As with wasted ranks we pass;

And we murmur "Morituri
Vos salutant," as we pass.



Grant Park, Chicago



013 787 762 4 '


Online LibraryJohn Corson SmithOur comrade General John A. Logan ... October 13, 1904 → online text (page 1 of 1)