The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
ĽName: John Alexander Logan

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Nicknamed "Black Jack" or "Black Eagle" as an adult, John Logan was born in Jackson County, Illinois, the eldest of eleven children. His father, a Scotch-Irish immigrant from northern Ireland, was a physician. Young Logan interrupted his legal studies to serve in the Mexican-American War as a lieutenant. After the war, he resumed the study of law, and practiced it for a few years before being elected to the Illinois legislature. A Douglas Democrat, Logan was elected to Congress in 1858 while taking a stance against the Lecompton constitution of Kansas, which denied the Northern Democratic position of popular sovereignty on the slavery issue. He represented the southern Illinois district sometimes called "Little Egypt." In 1860, Logan supported Douglas for president and was himself reelected to Congress.

When the Civil War began, Logan joined the Union fight, first at the Battle of Bull Run, then returning to Illinois to become colonel in the 31st Illinois Regiment. After Fort Donelson, he was promoted to brigadier-general, and after Vicksburg, he was named a major-general. He eventually became commander of the Army of the Tennessee, but was removed from that position by President Lincoln at General Sherman’s request. Logan believed this was due to West Point prejudice against a volunteer. Sherman argued that Logan’s political activities took him from the field and that, although a tough fighter, he expressed contempt for logistical preparations. Despite his distinguished military record for the Union, Logan would have to face rumors of his Confederate sympathy for the rest of his life. After the war, he helped found the Society of the Army of the Republic and originated the idea of Memorial Day.

In 1866, he was reelected to Congress as a Republican, and was selected as one of the House managers (prosecutors) of impeachment charges against President Johnson during the removal trial in the Senate. After being reelected twice, Logan was chosen to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate in 1871. He lost the seat in 1877 to David Davis, but gained the other Illinois Senate seat in 1879. A supporter of Grant’s unsuccessful bid for a third term in 1880, Logan was himself nominated for Vice President on the Republican national ticket with Presidential nominee James Blaine in 1884. He was returned to the Senate in 1885. In his final years, Logan worked on two military books, The Great Conspiracy: Its Origin and History (1886) and the posthumously published The Volunteer Soldier of America, With a Memoir of the Author and Military Reminiscences from General Logan’s Private Journal (1887). He died in Washington, D. C.

Robert C. Kennedy, HarpWeek

Source consulted:  Dictionary of American Biography


John Alexander Logan
(9 February 1826 - 26 December 1886)
Source:  Harper's Weekly

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