Logan, John A.

Born: 1826-02-09 Jackson County, Illinois

Died: 1886-12-26 Washington, DC

John A. Logan was county government official, lawyer, state legislator, prosecuting attorney, U.S. representative, and U.S. Army general. The son of John Logan, John A. Logan served as a second lieutenant in First Illinois Foot Regiment in the Mexican War but saw no action. He returned to Illinois after the war and settled in Jackson County, where he served as clerk of the Jackson County Circuit Court in 1849. In 1850, Logan was living in Jackson County's Northern District and owned $2,000 in real property. He studied law at the University of Louisville, was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1852, and won election as a Democrat to the Illinois House of Representatives, representing Jackson County. During his term, he maintained a white supremacist agenda which won him strong support from many supporters of his party. In 1853, Logan won election as U.S. prosecuting attorney for Illinois' Third District, a position he held until 1857. In 1855, he married Mary S. Cunningham, with whom he had three children. Logan was elected back to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1857, before winning election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1858, where he allied himself with Stephen A. Douglas. He earned the nickname "Dirty Work" for his use of the phrase to characterize returning fugitive slaves. He was a staunch Douglas supporter during the election of 1860 and even led a mob against a Benton newspaper that threatened to switch its support from the Democrats to the Republicans. By 1860, Logan and his family were living in Benton, where he was practicing law and owned $25,000 in real property, with a personal estate valued at $3,500.

Logan privately opposed secession but would not speak out against secession until his brother-in-law joined a Confederate regiment and Logan had to make his stance explicit. He received a commission as colonel of the Thirty-First Illinois Regiment and served under Ulysses S. Grant. Logan was wounded but won promotion to brigadier general at Fort Donelson. He earned the rank of major general by the Vicksburg campaign and served well, earning him the new nickname "Black Jack." His commitment to unionism also became evident as he supported the War Democrats and emancipation. Logan commanded the Fifteenth Corps of the Army of the Tennessee under James B. McPherson during the Atlanta campaign and assumed command of McPherson's army after McPherson was killed in action. William T. Sherman soon replaced Logan with Oliver O. Howard and Logan remained embittered to Sherman and professional soldiers for the rest of his life. He campaigned for Abraham Lincoln in 1864 before returning to the military and serving under Sherman during the Carolina campaign.

Illinois Mexican War Veterans, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; John Y. Simon. "Logan, John Alexander," American National Biography, ed. by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 13:839-40; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 108, 218, 221; Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1996 (Alexandria, VA: CQ Staff Directories, 1997), 1407; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Jackson County, IL, 233; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Benton, Franklin County, IL, 9; Gravestone, Murphysboro City Cemetery, Murphysboro, IL.