Portrait of John A. Logan

In the spring of 1863, John A. Logan was promoted to major general of volunteers, effective November 29, 1862. [Wikimedia Commons]

John Alexander Logan - Facts

February 6, 1826 - December 26, 1886

Key facts about Major General John A. Logan who rose from a volunteer with the Illinois Infantry in 1861, to command the Union Army of the Tennessee by the end of the American Civil War.

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Full Name:

  • John Alexander Logan

Birth Date:

  • February 6, 1826

Birth Location:

  • Near Murphysboro, Illinois

Parents:

  • Dr. James Logan and Elizabeth (Jenkins) Logan

Education:

  • Louisville University (1851)

Occupation:

  • Lawyer
  • Military officer
  • Politician

Career Summary:

  • U.S. Congressman
  • Major General (USVA)
  • Army of the Tennessee commander
  • U.S. Senator

Spouse:

  • Mary Cunningham (1855)

Nickname(s):

  • Black Jack

Place of Death:

  • Washington, D.C.

Date of Death:

  • December 26, 1886

Place of Burial:

  • U. S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery, Washington, DC

Significance:

  • John A. Logan was the first of nine children born to Dr. James Logan and Elizabeth (Jenkins) Logan.
  • John A. Logan’s mother was the sister of future Illinois Lieutenant Governor A. M. Jenkins.
  • John A. Logan’s father served as a surgeon during the Black Hawk War (1812) and later as a member of the Illinois State Legislature.
  • Logan County, in central Illinois, was named in honor of John A. Logan’s father.
  • John A. Logan attended Shiloh Academy, at Shiloh Hill, Illinois.
  • During the Mexican-American War (1846 – 1848), John A. Logan volunteered for service and was commissioned as a lieutenant with the First Illinois Regiment. He served as his unit’s adjutant in New Mexico, but he saw no combat.
  • In 1848, John A. Logan served as Jackson County Clerk.
  • John A. Logan studied law, graduating from Louisville University in 1851 and then entering the legal profession.
  • In 1852, John A. Logan was elected to fill his father’s seat in the Illinois State Legislature.
  • John A. Logan married Mary Cunningham, on November 27, 1855. Their marriage, which lasted 31 years, produced three children, two of whom survived to adulthood.
  • In 1855, John A. Logan served as prosecuting attorney for the third judicial district, which embraced 16 counties.
  • In 1856, John A. Logan was elected to a second term in the Illinois State Legislature.
  • As a member of the Democratic Party, John A. Logan’s views were closely aligned with Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas.
  • In 1858, John A. Logan was elected to serve the first of two consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • As a member of the 36th and 37th Congresses, John A. Logan endorsed the concept of popular sovereignty, supported the Fugitive Slave Act, and opposed abolition.
  • John A. Logan served as a civilian volunteer with a Michigan regiment during the First Battle of Bull Run (July 21, 1861).
  • After recruiting the 31st Illinois Infantry Regiment, which was mustered into service on September 18, 1861, John A. Logan was elected as colonel of the unit.
  • John A. Logan fought at the Battle of Belmont (November 7, 1861), the Battle of Fort Henry (February 6, 1862), and the Battle of Fort Donelson (February 11, 1862–February 16, 1862).
  • During the battle of Fort Donelson, John A. Logan was shot through his left shoulder and again through his right thigh.
  • John A. Logan was promoted to brigadier general, effective March 21, 1862.
  • On April 2, 1862, John A. Logan resigned his seat in Congress to concentrate on his military duties.
  • John A. Logan led the 32nd Illinois Infantry Regiment during the Union victory at the Battle of Shiloh (April 6–7, 1862).
  • During the Siege of Corinth (April 29 to May 30, 1862), John A. Logan commanded the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division of the Army of the Tennessee until May 2, 1862.
  • In the spring of 1863, John A. Logan was promoted to major general, effective November 29, 1862.
  • During the Vicksburg Campaign (December 26, 1862–July 4, 1863) John A. Logan commanded the 3rd Division of 17th Corps, of the Army of Tennessee.
  • John A. Logan briefly served as the military governor of Vicksburg, Mississippi after Union occupation of the Confederate stronghold.
  • John A. Logan assumed command of the 15th Corps on October 27, 1863.
  • John A. Logan commanded the 15th Corps throughout most of the Atlanta Campaign (May 7 – September 2, 1864).
  • John A. Logan temporarily assumed command of the Army of the Tennessee for six days (July 22, 1864 to July 27, 1864.) after his superior officer, Major General John A. McClernand, was killed during the Battle of Atlanta (July 22, 1863).
  • John A. Logan commanded the 15th Corps during the Carolinas Campaign (February–April 1865).
  • On May 19, 1865, the War Department issued General Orders No. 96, naming John A. Logan as commander of the Army of the Tennessee.
  • Following the Civil War, John A. Logan returned to Illinois and resumed his political career as a member of the Republican Party.
  • In the autumn of 1846, Illinois voters elected John A. Logan to an at-large seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Logan served in the 40th Congress (March 4, 1867 to March 4, 1869) and the 41st Congress (March 4, 1869 to March 4, 1871).
  • John A. Logan was appointed as one of the U.S. House of Representatives’ managers of President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment trial.
  • In 1868, John A. Logan was elected as Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a post that he held until 1871.
  • During John A. Logan’s term as Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, he was instrumental in the establishment of Memorial Day (then called Decoration Day) as a national holiday dedicated to honoring “comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion. . . .”
  • In 1870, the Illinois legislature selected John A. Logan for a seat in the U.S. Senate. He served in the 42nd through 44th Congresses (March 4, 1871–March 4, 1877), but political maneuvering by Governor Richard J. Oglesby denied him a second consecutive term.
  • John A. Logan was re-elected to the Senate in 1878 and served in the 46th through the 49th Congresses (March 4, 1879 to March 4, 1877) until his death in 1886.
  • In 1884, John A. Logan was the Republican running-mate of Senator James G. Blaine who lost the U.S presidential election to Democratic candidate Grover Cleveland.
  • In mid-December 1886, John A. Logan was afflicted with an acute attack of rheumatism. He died at his home in Washington, D.C. on December 26, from “congestion of the brain” related to his rheumatoid condition.
  • After his body lay in state in the U.S, Capitol, John A. Logan was entombed at the U.S. Soldiers’ Home National Cemetery, now known as the U. S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title John Alexander Logan - Facts
  • Coverage February 6, 1826 - December 26, 1886
  • Author
  • Keywords John Alexander Logan
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 27, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 29, 2021
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