Major General John Alexander Logan (USA) John Alexander Logan was born near what is now Murphysboro, Jackson County, Illinois on 9 February 1826. He enlisted in the 1st Illinois Infantry for the Mexican-American War and received a commission as a second lieutenant and assignment as the regimental quartermaster. After the war, Logan studied law, graduated from the Law Department of the University of Louisville in 1851, and practiced law with success. He entered politics as a Douglas Democrat and was elected county clerk in 1849. He served in the State House of Representatives from 1853 to 1854 and in 1857. In 1853, he helped pass a law to prohibit all African-Americans from settling in Illinois. During the interval, he was prosecuting attorney of the Third Judicial District of Illinois. In 1858 and 1860, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. U.S. Representative John A. Logan fought at Bull Run, 21 July 1861, as an unattached volunteer in a Michigan regiment. He was colonel of the 31st Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment, known by his soldiers as “Black John” because of his black eyes and hair and swarthy complexion, and was regarded as one of the most able officers to enter the army from civilian life. Logan served in the army of Ulysses S. Grant and was present at the Battle of Belmont on 7 November 1861, where his horse was killed, and at Fort Donelson, where he was wounded on 15 February 1862. He resigned his congressional seat on 2 April and was promoted to brigadier general as of 21 March. To confuse matters, the 32nd Illinois was commanded at Shiloh by a different Colonel John Logan. During the Siege of Corinth, John A. Logan commanded first a brigade and then the 1st Division of the Army of the Tennessee. He was promoted to major general to rank from 29 November 1862. During the Vicksburg Campaign, Logan commanded the 3rd Division of James B. McPherson’s XVII Corps, which was the first to enter the city of Vicksburg in July 1863 after its capture. Logan then served as the city’s military governor. In November 1863, he succeeded William T. Sherman in command of the XV Corps. At the Battle of Atlanta on 22 July 1864, he assumed command of the Army of the Tennessee after McPherson was killed. He was relieved a short time afterward by Oliver O. Howard. He returned to Illinois for the 1864 elections but rejoined the army afterward and commanded his XV Corps in Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign. In December 1864, Grant became impatient with George H. Thomas’s unwillingness to attack immediately at Nashville and sent Logan to relieve him. Logan was stopped in Louisville when news came that Thomas had completely smashed John Bell Hood’s Confederate army in the Battle of Nashville. Logan had been disappointed when Howard was given permanent command of the Army of the Tennessee after McPherson’s death, so Sherman arranged for Logan to lead the army during the May 1865 Grand Review in Washington. After the war, Logan resumed his political career as a Republican. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1867 to 1871 and the U.S. Senate from 1871 until 1877 and again from 1879 until his death in 1886. His re-election bid in 1885 was contentious, and Logan only won after a Democratic representative died and was replaced with a Republican. While in the House, Logan was one of the managers in the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson. He also worked to stop any action taken to overturn the conviction in the court-martial of Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter. He was the second Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic from 1868 to 1871 and helped lead the call for the creation of Decoration Day (Memorial Day) as a national public holiday. His war record and his great personal following, especially among members of the Grand Army of the Republic, contributed to his nomination for Vice President in 1884 on the ticket with James G. Blaine, but they were not elected. For this campaign, he commissioned the painting of the Atlanta Cyclorama, which emphasized his heroism in the Battle of Atlanta. Logan showed signs of illness when the 49th United States Congress opened its first official session on 7 December 1886. By mid-December, Logan’s arms swelled and his lower limbs were in pain. After several days of intense discomfort, the ailment subsided. He relapsed a few days later and eventually struggled to maintain consciousness. On 24 December, Logan’s doctors conceded that the condition may be fatal. On 26 December, Logan died at his home in Columbia Heights, Washington, D.C. His body laid in state in the United States Capitol. Logan is one of only three individuals mentioned by name in the Illinois state song along with Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.