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John Alexander Logan

He Distinguished Himself As Civil War General And Statesman

John Alexander Logan was one of early Illinois’ most distinguished leaders. Most of his career was spent between the law and politics and the military. He reached the rank of general and shortly before his death was nominated for vice president of the United States with James G. Blaine as presidential candidate. ■ John A. Logan was born on February 9, 1826, in Jackson County, Illinois. His father was an Ulster Scot who emigrated to the U.S. in 1823. John enlisted in the army at the outbreak of war with Mexico. After the war, he studied law and was admitted to the bar. ■ He was elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 1852 and 1856. In 1858 he was elected to Congress and later to the U.S. Senate. He resigned from Congress on the spur of the moment to take part in the Battle of Bull Run. ■ He returned home to organize the 31st Illinois Infantry and was appointed commanding officer of the unit. He was the only Union volunteer to successively command a regiment, a brigade, a division, a corps, and an army and he was never defeated. He led the first column into Vicksburg after its surrender and he was appointed military governor of the city. ■ Following the Civil War, Logan proposed that May 30 be designated as Decoration Day (Memorial Day) and made a national holiday. ■ He moved to Chicago to practice law. He ran for the U.S. Senate from Chicago and was elected. At the Republican Convention of 1884, he received 63 votes for president. He was nominated vice president with James G. Blaine as the presidential candidate. They lost the election and Logan died suddenly December 26, 1886 in Washington, D.C. ■ On his death, Blaine said, “No man has combined two careers to such an eminent degree.”

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society
Scottish-American History Club
2800 Des Plaines Avenue
North Riverside, IL 60546