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Chapter 7:

Appreciating as I did the prodigious undertakings that were planned for Sherman's army, I spent many midnight hours in sleepless anxiety. During the day we had plenty to do to help care for the families of the refugees and soldiers, who were subject to all the ills to which human flesh is heir. Playing nurse, comforter, providing ways and means, and soliciting and dispensing relief kept my friends and myself very busy. Meanwhile we watched and waited impatiently for the meagre tidings that came irregularly from the advancing army.

All the winter of 1863 and the spring of 1864 Sherman was preparing for the campaign and siege of Atlanta. His old friend and associate, Johnston, was in command of the forces in and about Atlanta. Sherman had the most exalted opinion of Johnston's military abilities and courage; he was, therefore, very careful that every precaution should be observed.

The almost impregnable mountain barriers encircling the well-fortified city of Atlanta added much to the advantage of the enemy. With an army of less courage and experience, [155] Sherman would have had reason for solicitude. Vicksburg, Lookout Mountain, and Chattanooga were ours. General Grant and the Army of the East had scored many victories; the enemy were dispirited and rapidly reaching the point of desperation; therefore, the Union troops had reason to expect intrepid resistance to their advance. This, however, in no wise deterred them, and they were only impatient for active operations, growing quite restive under the delays incident to the mobilization of such an army.

May I, 1864, they started breaking up the headquarters at Huntsville, Alabama, from which date until the 1st of September they were constantly on the move, fighting their way over almost every foot of territory to the frowning breastworks surrounding Atlanta.

At Resaca they first drove the enemy from their works and pursued them in their retreat to Adairsville. General Logan desired to follow up this victory and capture the flower of Johnston's army, but was not permitted to do so. Subsequently it was proved that General Logan was correct in his military judgment, and that his proposition could have been successfully executed. From Adairsville the Union forces marched to Kingston and Dallas, where, in a severe engagement against Hardee's veteran corps, General Logan was shot through the arm about half-way between the elbow and the shoulder. They seemed determined to deprive him of his left arm, as he had been shot through that arm at the point of the shoulder at Fort Donelson. He paid little attention to the wound received at Dallas, feeling that there was no time to be off duty for a single hour. General Logan always claimed that Dallas, for the length of time and number of troops engaged, was one of the most hotly contested battles of the war. The attack of the Fifteenth Corps on Kenesaw Mountain, up its perpendicular sides, was one of the most daring and tragic in history. It was made in obedience to orders against the advice of General Logan, who [156] considered the impossible feat little short of madness, an opinion in which General McPherson coincided, but both were subordinate to the general commanding the movements around Atlanta.

Yet the gallant leader of the Fifteenth Corps never hesitated to obey an order, even though it would lead to dire disaster. His brave followers tried to go wherever he led; so, at eight o'clock on the morning of June 27, 1864, they went bravely forward over two lines of works, driving the enemy still higher on the precipitous sides of the mountain, to be mowed down like grass by the enemy intrenched above. Huge stones, a torrent of iron hail, and canister were hurled down upon them like the avalanches of the Rocky Mountains. To proceed further or remain where they were was impossible. Besides the hundreds of dauntless men, such grand heroes as Generals Harker and McCook were killed. Finally, the advice of General Logan to flank the position was adopted, but not until the scaling experiment had cost many valuable lives. Johnston, seeing that his rear was threatened by the flank movement, fell back toward Atlanta from Kenesaw.

General Logan commanded the Fifteenth Corps, General Dodge the Sixteenth Corps, General Blair the Seventeenth Corps, of the Army of the Tennessee. Between these officers and General McPherson there existed the most perfect harmony. General Logan and General McPherson were thoroughly impressed with the fact that in front of the Fifteenth Corps there was massed a large force of the enemy after the fighting that had taken place around Decatur. General Sherman believed the Confederates were evacuating Atlanta, and were retreating toward East Point; therefore he ordered General McPherson to pursue them with the Army of the Tennessee, and, if possible, cut off a portion of them.

McPherson felt this to be a terrible mistake, but he was too good a soldier to hesitate long over an order. So, early in the morning of the 22d of July, he rode over to General [157] Logan's headquarters to confer with him, and at the same time order General Logan to put the troops in position to carry out General Sherman's orders, “while I will ride over to Sherman's headquarters, and try to convince him of his error,” he said. General Logan has often, with tears in his eyes, related the thrilling circumstances, and how he proceeded at once to obey McPherson, feeling that they were to be met by an opposing army greatly in excess of their commands.

Scarcely had the sound of the clatter of McPherson's horse's hoofs died away, as he galloped off in the direction of General Sherman's headquarters, when an orderly came on a flying steed to General Logan to announce that McPherson had been killed by Claiborne's Cavalry, which was rapidly swinging around to the rear of the Union army.

Thus, in a twinkling, upon General Logan was thrust the awful responsibility of extricating the troops from the direful position in which they were placed-almost cut off, the enemy in the rear, the Union cavalry sent off to burn a bridge at Covington, and with the command as nearly as possible under the orders given by General Sherman to McPherson, and carried by him in person to General Logan, as mentioned above, in the early morning of July 22, 1864.

The order read as follows:

Three miles and a half east of Atlanta, Ga.,
Major-General John A. Logan, Commanding Fifteenth Army Corps.
The enemy having evacuated their works in front of our lines, the supposition of Major-General Sherman is that they have given up Atlanta without entering the town. You will take a route to the left of that taken by the enemy, and try to cut off a portion of them, while they are pressed in the rear and on the right by Generals Schofield and Thomas.

Major-General Sherman desires and expects a vigorous pursuit.

Very respectfully your obedient servant, James B. Mcpherson, Major-General.


It was proved afterward to have been wholly impracticable.

With the sounds of the guns of the attacking enemy coming from every direction, General Logan, as the ranking officer, and with only the orders which he received from McPherson a few minutes before he was killed, assumed command. General Logan rode with magic swiftness from one end of the line to the other, rallying the troops with the tragic cry of “McPherson and revenge!” and appealing to officers and men to do or die. Hand to hand was the order of the day-victory wavering from one side to the other from early morning until the day was far spent. The irresistible force and intrepid valor of the Union army, led by a dauntless leader, compelled the enemy to fall back. The day was ours, and McPherson was revenged, solely through General Logan's matchless genius, indomitable courage, and leadership of men-men who would have followed him to the jaws of death. He fought the battle without orders, winning a victory when the tide of battle was almost overwhelmingly against him.

I can not resist quoting, from General Logan's address on the occasion of the unveiling of McPherson's monument in McPherson Square in Washington in 1876, his graphic description of McPherson's death:

The news of his death spread with lightning-speed along the lines, sending a pang of deepest sorrow to every heart as it reached the ear; but, especially terrible was the effect on the Army of the Tennessee. It seemed as though a burning, fiery dart had pierced each breast, tearing asunder the flood-gates of grief, but, at the same time, heaving to their very depths the fountains of revenge. The clenched hands seemed to sink into the weapons they held, and from the eyes gleamed forth flashes terrible as lightning. The cry ‘McPherson, McPherson!’ and ‘McPherson and revenge!’ rose above the din of battle, and, as it rang along the lines, swelled in power, until the roll of musketry and booming of cannon seemed drowned by its echoes.

McPherson again seemed to lead his troops-and where McPherson leads victory is sure. Each officer and soldier, from the [159] succeeding commander to the lowest private, beheld, as it were, the form of their bleeding chief leading them on to the battle. ‘ McPherson! ’ and ‘Onward to victory!’ were their only thoughts; bitter, terrible revenge their only aim.

There was no such thought that day as stopping short of victory or death. The firm, spontaneous resolve was to win the day or perish with their slain leader on the bloody field. Fearfully was his death avenged. His army, maddened by his death and utterly reckless of life, rushed with savage delight into the fiercest onslaughts, and fearlessly plunged into the very jaws of destruction. As wave after wave of Hood's daring troops dashed with terrible fury upon our lines, they were hurled back with a fearful shock, breaking their columns into fragments, as the granite headland breaks into foam the ocean billows that strike against it. Across the narrow line of works raged the fierce storm of battle, the hissing shot and shell raining death on every hand. Seven times Hood's, Hardee's, and Wheeler's commands charged and were as many times repulsed. Once they broke the Union lines and captured De Grass's battery, and he, with tears streaming down his brave cheeks, rode as fast as his horse could carry him to General Logan, begging him to send a brigade of the invincible Fifteenth Army Corps to recover his beloved guns. Fired by the gallant De Grass's heroism, General Logan appealed to the men who had never failed him. Off they went, crying: “The guns! The guns! We will have them or die!” Logan led the way, the very incarnation of desperate daring, and in a brief time the battery was recaptured.

Over dead and dying, friends and foes, rushed the swaying host, the shouts of rebels confident of victory, only drowned by the cry of “McPherson and revenge!” which went up from the Army of the Tennessee. Twelve thousand gallant men bit the dust ere the night closed in, and the defeated and baffled enemy, after failing in repeated and desperate assaults upon our lines, was compelled to give up the hopeless [160] contest. Notwithstanding the fact that our troops had to fight front and rear, victory crowned our arms.

That night, after the battle, General Logan received orders commanding him to report to General Sherman's headquarters, which he reached at the midnight hour, to be congratulated and praised without stint for the work he had done that day. Continuance of the command of the Army of the Tennessee was promised him again and again, as he in detail reported to General Sherman the events of the battle. No intimation was given of his unfitness for the command or of his lacks in the profession of a soldier. His military sense was considered of the highest order; if he was a soldier from civilian ranks, he had never been defeated in any engagement, which can not be said of all the professional soldiers of the Civil War. He felt, as he returned to his headquarters that night, that all was propitious, that he had done his duty well, and that merit would receive its just reward. He was anxious to fulfil every requirement of so responsible a position, so, when orders came that the army under his command should withdraw from their intrenchments and move seven miles to the right under the cover of darkness, that the enemy might not discover the movement, General Logan personally superintended the execution of the command. He ordered the wheels of the wagon-trains and artillery to be muffled with hay and straw, and was so explicit in his directions to the officers in command of the various corps and divisions that, in the stillness of the night they quietly gathered up all their belongings, and all the paraphernalia of war, and were in their new position in the early morning, an unparalleled piece of strategy, and not excelled by any like movement by the greatest warriors of any age.

Imagine the feelings of a man, weary from midnight vigils, marching and personally superintending such gigantic movements as General Logan had directed for days preceding, and in a position to begin another big battle, to be [161] confronted with an order to surrender the command to General O. O. Howard, not before conspicuously connected with the great Army of the Tennessee which Logan had led to victory after McPherson's death! The Army of the Tennessee had never known defeat under him and, to a man, they would have followed Logan through blood and carnage to the very abyss of death. A man of less noble mind and courage would have rebelled, and encouraged the just indignation expressed by the whole command; but he, with his great heart beating with patriotism and soldierly appreciation of the effect of his resentment, quietly returned to his old corps, and led the van in the heroic deeds of the 28th of July, 1864, at Ezra Chapel, the most sanguinary battle of the whole campaign, where the Fifteenth Army Corps captured many prisoners, arms, and battle-flags.

The victory was so complete that the enemy fled from the field, leaving their dead and wounded behind them. General Howard, General Logan's successor in command of the Army of the Tennessee, made special mention of the conduct of General Logan and his corps, attributing the success of the day as much to General Logan, personally, as to any one man. After frequent less important engagements the army reached Jonesboro, where the last great battle before the evacuation of Atlanta occurred.

General Logan did not reach Jonesboro until midnight of August 30. Realizing that they were likely to be assaulted by the corps of Hardee and Lee at any moment, he ordered intrenchments to be made to protect his lines and his men from needless exposure. This was done without orders from either of his superior officers, but from the promptings of his own military genius and wisdom.

At three o'clock the expected assault was made, but, protected by their trenches, the Union forces were able to repel the attacks of the enemy. The artillery were so well posted that they could rake the foe mercilessly. The day resulted [162] in the fall of Atlanta, which had been doomed since the bloody battle of July 22.

General Sherman, in his report of the Atlanta campaign, heaped encomiums upon General Logan, and said no one could possibly have done better than he after the death of McPherson, but admitted that he had recommended General O. 0. Howard to supersede General Logan.

It is needless to recapitulate, but General Logan's noble conduct in the most trying experience of his life is beyond exaggeration. I need not dwell upon his matchless achievements after he returned to the command of the Fifteenth Army Corps, who, to a man, would have died for him. Logan never swerved one iota from his loyalty to his commanders, or in the least lessened his energies or his heroism till Atlanta had fallen. After the battle of Ezra Chapel, on August 28, 1864, which was won by the daring of the Fifteenth Army Corps with Logan at its head, General O. 0. Howard issued an order congratulating the army, and mentioning General Logan in laudatory terms. General Logan was incapable of inciting or allowing a mutinous spirit to prevail, but he was not able to prevent the army from feeling resentment at the appointment of General O. O. Howard. Had not General Logan gone North at the solicitation of President Lincoln to take part in the Presidential campaign of 1864--after the fall of Atlanta — and had not the army started on its holiday march to the sea, the incident might not have ended as it did. Suffice it to say, that the authorities at Washington deemed it expedient to transfer Major-General O. O. Howard to the command of the Freedman's Bureau, in Washington, and restore General Logan to the command of the Army of the Tennessee. Major-General Logan, therefore, rode at the head of that invincible army at the grand review. The Army of the Tennessee manifested their gratification at his return to the command in every possible way. General O. O. Howard was naturally chagrined,

Letter of General Joseph Hooker to General Logan informing him of General Hooker's resignation because of the appointment of General Howard to the command of the Army of the Tennessee.

[163] and a few years ago, in a public way, tried to explain that the restoration of Major-General Logan to the command of the Army of the Tennessee was brought about by political influence. It was at least strange that this explanation was not given while General Logan and General Sherman were living. Ever since the war closed, and the patriotic societies were organized, on every occasion of their meetings, or rather reunions, General Logan was hailed with enthusiasm as the great commander of the Army of the Tennessee.

It may not be inappropriate for me on this occasion to say that whatever of misunderstanding and estrangement there may have existed at one time between the two great commanders of the Army of the Tennessee, Sherman and Logan, it was wholly obliterated by General Logan's tribute to General Sherman at a notable banquet given by Colonel Corkhill to General Sherman on his retirement as general of the army, in which Logan said, in replying to the toast “The volunteer soldier” :

There were no questions of numbers or time, and, for General Sherman, I will say there was not a soldier who bore the American flag, or followed it, not a soldier who carried a musket, or drew a sabre, who did not respect him as his commander. There was not one, sir, but would have drawn his sword at any time to have preserved his life. There is not one to-day, no matter what may have been said, that would dim in the slightest degree the lustre of that bright name, achieved by ability, by integrity, and by true bravery as an officer. And in conclusion let me say this: While that army, when it was disbanded, was absorbed in the community like rain-drops in the sand, all citizens in the twinkling of an eye, and back to their professions and their business, there is not one of these men, scattered as they are from ocean to ocean, who does not honor the name of the man who led them in triumph through the enemy's land. Wherever he may go, wherever he may be, whatever may be his condition in life, there is not one who would not stretch out a helping hand to that brave commander who led them to glory. Speaking for that army, if I may be permitted to speak for it, I have to say: May the choicest blessings that God [164] showers upon the head of man go with him along down through his life, is the prayer of every soldier who served under Sherman.

When General Logan finished, General Sherman arose, went around to General Logan, put his arm around Logan's neck, and shook his hand cordially, while the tears ran down his cheeks. His emotions were too great for words.

It was on a Saturday night, and, notwithstanding the approach of the wee sma‘ hours before the tearful parting of the distinguished guests, General Sherman went home and wrote the following most manly and feeling letter to General Logan, explaining his reasons for certain actions touching General Logan and expressing his gratitude for General Logan's tribute to him.

Washington, D. C., Sunday, February 11, 1883.
General John A. Logan, U. S. Senate, Washington, D. C. Dear General:--
This is a rainy Sunday, a good day to clear up old scores, and I hope you will receive what I propose to write in the same friendly spirit in which I offer it.

I was very much touched by the kind and most complimentary terms in which you spoke of me personally at the recent Corkhill banquet, on the anniversary of my sixty-third birthday, and have since learned that you still feel a wish that I should somewhat qualify the language I used in my Memoirs, column 2, pages 85 and 86, giving the reasons why General 0. O. Howard was recommended by me to succeed McPherson in the command of the Army of the Tennessee, when, by the ordinary rules of the service, the choice should have fallen to you. I confess frankly that my ardent wish is to retire from the command of the army with the kind and respectful feelings of all men, especially of those who were with me in the days of the Civil War, which must give to me and to my family a chief claim on the gratitude of the people of the United States.

I confess that I have tortured and twisted the words used on the pages referred to, so as to contain my meaning better without offending you, but so far without success. I honestly believe that [165] no man to-day holds in higher honor than myself the conduct and action of John A. Logan, from that hour when he realized that the South meant war. Prior to the war, all men had doubts, but the moment Fort Sumter was fired on from batteries in Charleston, these doubts dissipated as a fog, and from the hour thenceforth your course was manly, patriotic, sublime. Throughout the war, I know of no single man's career more complete than yours.

Now, as to the specific matter of this letter. I left Vicksburg in the fall of 1863, by order of General Grant in person, with three divisions of my own corps (15th) and one of McPherson's (16th) to hasten to the assistance of the Army of the Cumberland (General Rosecrans commanding) which, according to the then belief, had been worsted at Chickamauga. Blair was with us, you were not. We marched through mud and water four hundred miles from Memphis, and you joined me on the march, with an order to succeed me in command of the Fifteenth Corps, a Presidential appointment which Blair had exercised temporarily. Blair was at that time a member of Congress, and was afterward named to command the 17th Corps, and actually remained so long in Washington that we had got to Big Shanty before he overtook us. Again, after the battles of Missionary Ridge and Knoxville, when Howard served with me, I went back to Vicksburg and Meridian, leaving you in command of the Fifteenth Corps along the railroad from Stevenson to Decatur. I was gone three months, and, when I got back, you complained to me bitterly against George H. Thomas, that he claimed for the Army of the Cumberland everything, and almost denied the Army of the Tennessee any use of the railroads.

I sustained you, and put all army and corps commanders on an equal footing, making their orders and requisitions of equal force on the depot officers and railroad officials in Nashville. Thomas was extremely sensitive on that point, and, as you well know, had much feeling against you personally, which he did not conceal. You also went to Illinois more than once to make speeches, and were so absent after the capture of Atlanta, at the time we started for Savannah, and did not join us until we had reached Savannah.

Now, I have never questioned the right or propriety of you and Blair holding fast to your constituents by the usual methods; it was natural and right, but it did trouble me to have my corps commanders serving two distinct causes, one military and the other civil or political; and this did influence me when I was forced to make choice of an army commander to succeed McPherson. This [166] is all I record in my Memoirs. It was so, and I can not amend them. Never in speech, writing, or record, surely not in the Memoirs, do I recall applying to you and Blair, for I always speak of you together, the term of ‘political general.’ If there be such an expression, I can not find it now, nor can I recall its use. The only place wherein the word ‘politics’ occurs is in the pages which I have referred to, and wherein I explain my own motive and reason for nominating Howard over you and Blair for the vacant post.

My reason may have been bad, nevertheless it was the reason which decided me then and, as a man of honor, I was bound to record it. At this time, 1883, Thomas being dead, I can not say more than is in the text, viz.: that he took strong ground against you, and I was naturally strongly influenced by his outspoken opinion. Still, I will not throw off on him, but will state to you frankly that I then believed that the advice I gave Mr. Lincoln was the best practicable. General Howard had been with me up to Knoxville, and had displayed a zeal and ability which then elicited my hearty approbation, and, as I trusted in a measure to skilful maneuvers rather than to downright hard fighting, I recommended him. My Memoirs were designed to give the impressions of the hour, and not to pass judgment on the qualities as exemplified in after life.

If you will point out to me a page or line where I can better portray your fighting qualities, your personal courage, and magnificent example in actual combat, I will be most happy to add to or correct the Memoirs, but when I attempt to explain my own motives or reasons, you surely will be the first man to see that outside influence will fail.

My course is run, and for better or worse I can not amend it, but if ever in your future you want a witness to your intense zeal and patriotism, your heroic personal qualities, you may safely call on me as long as I live. I surely have watched with pride and interest your career in the United States Senate, and will be your advocate if you aim at higher honors. I assert with emphasis that I never styled you or Blair ‘political generals’ and if I used the word ‘politics’ in an offensive sense, it was to explain my own motives for action and not as descriptive.

Wishing you all honor and happiness on this earth, I am, as always, your friend,

W. T. Sherman.


This letter General Logan acknowledged promptly, responding cordially to the sentiments of regard expressed by his beloved commander.

United States Senate, Washington, D. C., Sunday, Feb. 18, 1883.
General W. T. Sherman, My dear Sir:--
I have delayed acknowledging your letter of the 11th inst. up to this time for the reason that I have been so much engaged every moment of the time that I could not sooner do so; for your expression of kindly feelings toward me I tender my grateful acknowledgments.

I am inclined, however, my dear general, to the opinion that, had you fully understood the situation in which I was placed at the times mentioned by you, that I returned North from the army for the purpose of taking part in the political contests then going on, that perhaps your criticisms on my (then) course would not have been made. I did not do it for the purpose of ‘keeping a hold on my people.’ I refused a nomination in my own State for a very high position for the reason that I would not have anything to do with parties while the war should last. In 1863, when I went home to canvass in Illinois, and to help in Ohio, General Grant was fully advised, and knows that although I had to make application for leave of absence, I did not do it of my own volition, but at the request of those high in authority. So, when I left on leave after the Atlanta campaign, to canvass for Mr. Lincoln, I did it at the special and private request of the then President. This I kept to myself, and have never made it public, nor do I propose to do so now, but feel that I may in confidence say this to you, that you may see what prompted my action in the premises. I have borne for this reason whatever I may have suffered by way of criticism, rather than turn criticism on the dead.

So far as General Thomas having feeling in the matter you mention, I presume he entertained the same feeling that seemed to be general, that no one without a military education was to be trusted to command an army; this, I think, was the feeling then, is now, and will ever be. I find no fault with it; this as a rule is probably correct, but the experience of the world has occasionally found exceptions to this rule. I certainly never gave General Thomas [168] any occasion to have strong feelings against me. I did complain that I was not on an equality with him while I commanded between Decatur and Stevenson; that my passes on the roads were not recognized, and I have General Thomas's letter afterward, admitting the fact, and apologizing to me for the conduct of his officers in this matter. I at all times co-operated with him cordially and promptly during my stay at Huntsville and at all other times subsequent. Certainly I did for him afterward what few men would have done. When ordered to Nashville, with a view of superseding him, at Louisville, when I found the situation of matters, I wrote and telegraphed to Grant that he, Thomas, was doing all he could, and asked to be ordered back to my own command, which was done. This I say to show my kind feeling for him, and to say that if I ever did anything to cause him to complain of me I was not aware of it.

One thing, my dear general, that I feel conscious of, and that is that no man ever obeyed your orders more promptly, and but few ever did you more faithful service in carrying out your plans and military movements than myself.

I may have done yourself and myself an injustice by not disclosing to you the cause of my returning to the North at the time I did, but you have my reasons for it. I felt in honor that I could rest.

This letter is intended only for full explanation, and for yourself only. I do not feel aggrieved as you think, but will ever remain your friend,

Yours truly, John A. Logan.

The few brief years that intervened before General Logan preceded General Sherman to that land of eternal bliss they saw much of each other, forgetting, in the happy circumstance of reunited friendship, the unfavorable winds that had temporarily estranged them. The Corkhill banquet was probably one of the most impressive dinners ever given in Washington, including the names of the most illustrious men of that time. Nearly every one of that distinguished company have joined the mighty throng in the great beyond.

The correspondence between Sherman and himself General [169] Logan regarded as confidential, and therefore he would not discuss the matter or give it to the public. Amicable relations having been restored between himself and his revered commander, to whom he was sincerely attached, he was willing the matter should be dropped, as it was impossible for General Logan, with his generous and big-hearted nature, to long bear malice or be indefinitely estranged from any one to whom he had once been attached.

Prior to the dinner above mentioned General Sherman had at various times and in many ways tried to explain why he was so inconsistent as to recommend General 0. O. Howard to the authorities at Washington as successor to General McPherson in command of the Army of the Tennessee, after he had acknowledged that General Logan had rescued that army from defeat and won one of the most signal victories of the war. It was not until Sherman's retirement, as explained by the correspondence between General Sherman and General Logan, and published after General Logan's death, that General Sherman gave to the public the true reason for the injustice done General Logan in returning him to his corps, and in taking General O. O. Howard from another army and giving him command of the Army of the Tennessee. It will be seen that one among others of Sherman's reasons for this action was that General Logan was a volunteer, and not a professional soldier graduated from West Point, notwithstanding the fact that Logan's record showed he had never made a mistake in handling an army, though the same is not claimed for General Sherman and other West Point graduates.

In connection with this matter, there has come into my possession recently a copy of a most valuable record made at the time by that dauntless, efficient, and incomparable officer, Major-General Granville M. Dodge. General Dodge commanded the Sixteenth Army Corps of Sherman's army during the eventful Atlanta campaign. The intimacy which grew [170] up between General Dodge and General Logan while they were engaged in the prodigious work which each performed in that campaign continued through life, and I deem this report so important that I can not resist the temptation to insert it here. It will be remembered that General Dodge's great services to his country did not end with the close of the war, for it was through his indomitable energy and great skill as a civil engineer that the Union Pacific Railroad was completed. He has been president of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee since the death of General Sherman. General Dodge's report reads as follows:

On July 27th General 0. O. Howard was assigned to the command of the Army of the Tennessee, which was a great disappointment to that army. They felt that an army which had followed Grant, Sherman, McPherson, and Logan, who had taken it successfully through its last battle, after the death of McPherson, had material enough in it to command it. On the movement from the extreme left to the right, I pulled out first and as I was moving to the rear of General Thomas's army, I saw General Logan sitting on the porch of a log building. I went up to speak to him and found that General Sherman was inside. After speaking a few words to General Logan, I went in and had a talk with General Sherman, inquiring about the change of commanders and expressing my wish that General Logan had been assigned to the command. He answered me by saying it was all right; that he would tell me the reasons sometime. When I came out, General Logan was still sitting on the porch and, as the door was open, I have no doubt he heard what I had to say to General Sherman, for there were tears in his eyes. I spoke to him very cordially and said to him that I was greatly disappointed at the change, but hoped it would end all right. He, like a good soldier, said it would, but he said it was pretty hard on him. Nothing more then was said about it. Years after, I had correspondence in relation to this matter with General Sherman, when the friends of Logan and myself were endeavoring to bring them together. For a long time after the war General Logan never forgot Sherman's treatment of him and at times felt it keenly, but one day, on the floor of the U. S. Senate, General Logan made a speech in defense of Sherman and in praise of him, [171] which finally brought them together and their old troubles were forgotten. Some time after the war, I forget the place but I think it was when we were together at one of the reunions of the Army of the Tennessee, General Sherman made a full explanation to me of the matter and at the time I made full notes of it in my diary, and I quote here what he said:

Sherman said that in the winter of 1863, after the battle of Missionary Ridge on his trip to Meridian, he left Logan in command at Huntsville with the 15th Corps, and Dodge in command on line of railroad from Nashville to Decatur with the 16th Corps, both in General Thomas's Department. On his return, he found Logan much dissatisfied with Thomas and complained of his treatment of him. He could not send an officer or soldier to Nashville until he got his orders or passes approved by Thomas's provost marshal or some local commander. Sherman, when he saw Thomas, told him he should not have treated Logan in that way; that he was a corps commander and was entitled to better treatment. Thomas complained of Logan in several matters and said he was hard to get along with and that he had had no trouble with Dodge. Sherman said he had tried to smooth the matter over, but he discovered an unfriendly feeling that continued through the Atlanta campaign.

When McPherson fell, on the 22nd of July, in front of Atlanta, Logan by seniority of rank assumed command by his direction and handled the army well. After the battle Thomas came to Sherman and they discussed the question of a commander for the Army of the Tennessee. Sherman told Thomas that Logan was entitled to the command, was competent for it and he desired to place him in it. Thomas answered with much feeling that he was sorry to hear him say so, for, if Logan was assigned to the command of the Army of the Tennessee, he should consider it his duty to resign his command. Sherman answered General Thomas: “You certainly would not do that and leave me here in that condition.” Thomas hesitated and finally said: “No, I don't know as I would go so far as that,” but protested that Logan should not be assigned to the command. Sherman said: “I don't see how I can pass him by; I don't want to do anything that will seem to reflect on Logan.” Thomas answered: “Well, let the President or Secretary of War select a commander.” Sherman said: “No. I do not want them to send a commander here that is outside of this army.” Sherman said: “In other words you don't feel that [172] with Logan in command you and he could act cordially and harmoniously together?” Thomas said: “Yes, that's it, and I think, to insure success, that there should be not only harmony but entire cordiality between the army commanders.” Sherman's answer was that he could not afford to put Logan in command under such circumstances.

Finally they sat down and discussed the merits of the different generals and settled upon Howard. “I have,” said Sherman, “always been a friend to Logan in a great many different ways. He was a good soldier. He handled the army splendidly on the 22d, and in his movement to the right. But you see I had a great responsibility and had to do the best I could under the circumstances. I consider Logan the representative volunteer general of the war.”

While I never knew the exact facts in the matter, I know the Army of the Tennessee wanted Logan and was greatly disappointed when Sherman went outside of it for a commander. The officers and men felt that the little army that had had for its commanders Grant, Sherman, McPherson, and Logan had filled every post of responsibility to which it had been assigned, and that there was material left in it to command it; but I think no one in it knew of this complication and it is well they did not.

Sherman showed himself a master when he took the responsibility and made no explanation, and thus preserved the good feeling throughout the great command. I heard the news of the appointment of Howard in place of Logan as we were marching from the left to right. I did not know Howard personally.

While these events were occurring at the front, the political excitement was waxing hot all over the North, and the old feeling between the war and anti-war parties in the North was growing more and more intense. Many Democrats, General Logan among them, had gone into the army to save the Union. Many others failed to see that the Emancipation Proclamation was the legitimate sequence of secession; the disasters in the East were seized upon as an excuse for declaring the war a failure. McClellan, the first general of the army, was nominated for the Presidency by the Democratic party; many War Democrats flocked to his standard, and it [173] was supposed that all of them would do so. It was thought that the disaffection thus created would result in the defeat of Mr. Lincoln, and thereby the transfer of the Government and all its interests to Democratic hands. For weeks all communication with the army engaged in the siege of Atlanta had been cut off. The conventions had been held, and the candidates were regularly in the field. The deepest solicitude was felt all over the country as to which of the parties and candidates would receive the moral support of the army.

Illinois, as the home of Mr. Lincoln, was watched with great anxiety. General Logan had refused all political preferment after he entered the army in 1861. This election of 1864 was the first Presidential election since the war began, and his old-time friends thought to win him to the support of McClellan. Mr. Lincoln realized that Illinois was so important to the Republican party that he was anxious to have General Logan's support. Hence, the moment that General Sherman decided that the army should not continue the pursuit of Hood's army until they had rested after their superhuman labors in the siege and capture of Atlanta, and it was evident that there would be no movement requiring General Logan's presence, Mr. Lincoln requested him to come home and take part in the civil campaign, which was fraught with quite as much importance as the military one just closed so gloriously.

After the army had entered Atlanta and all were to have a respite, General Logan came home. The plaudits of the people followed him everywhere, and I shall remember as long as I live the eagerness with which they surrounded him and plied him with questions as to his future political course. To all of them he said: “Wait till the arrival of the date when I am to speak to you.” He had been advertised to speak in the grove near Carbondale, Illinois, our home at that time. The grove was a most beautiful place, a natural amphitheatre [174] shaded by grand old oak-trees, where outdoor public meetings were held. On this occasion, fully twenty thousand people assembled there, all breathless to hear what General Logan had to say. A large majority of the residents of that section were War Democrats, and inclined to the support of McClellan, a brother-in-law of mine among the number. My relative was so enthusiastic that he declared over and over again, while communication was cut off during the siege of Atlanta, that he knew General Logan, as a War Democrat, would espouse McClellan's cause, greatly to the vexation of General Logan's friends, who were devoted to Mr. Lincoln. One day, in the presence of a number of persons, he became so sanguine that he offered to bet a fine span of mules he owned against five hundred dollars that Logan would support McClellan. Seeing the annoyance and unhappiness his statement produced upon the friends, though not given to such practices, I said: “All right, Mr. Campbell, I will take your bet, since you are so confident.” A half-dozen hands were instantly thrust into plethoric pockets, and the money was proffered to be put up to pay if I lost, and to be sure that I would have the mules if I won.

I heard nothing from General Logan for many weeks, and knew as little as any of them as to his position on political questions, except from intuition, and an appreciation of the situation and his well-known devotion to his country.

At last the day arrived on which General Logan was to speak. He was much worn and looked haggard and weary from his ceaseless labors in the Atlanta campaign which had lasted from May till September. He was so sunburnt that he looked like an Indian. The scenes through which he had passed had furrowed his brow, but the flashing light of his eyes was still there, and the return to home and his family made him happy. We soon told him all that had transpired during the thirteen months since we had last seen him; especially about the political situation, and the claims of both

Letter of President Lincoln to General Logan in 1864.

[175] parties for his support and influence. When told that I had committed him to the extent of actually betting that he would not support McClellan and the platform upon which he was nominated, he was greatly amused, and I soon saw I had his approval, ever a requisite to my happiness. The incident had been telegraphed everywhere, and much comment indulged in, so, when General Logan mounted the beautifully decorated stand from which he was to speak, he was greeted by wild cheers and yells from the vast crowd: “Now he will win the mules.” He spoke for some time, telling them the duty of all loyal men, of the cost of blood and treasure at which the victories of the Union had been won, and closed with a glowing appeal for Mr. Lincoln's re-election, that the war might speedily be brought to an end.

Scarcely a dry eye was to be seen among the thousands upturned to him, their idolized leader in civil as well as military campaigns. At the conclusion they made a rush for my brother-in-law's barn, and soon returned with the mules hitched to a carriage in which they insisted upon taking General Logan, and driving him around the town to our home. For weeks he travelled over the country in a carriage drawn by the mules, canvassing the State in the interest of the Republican nominees, and did as much as any other one man for the re-election of Mr. Lincoln.

After the lapse of so many years, and through the veil of oblivion that has obscured the circumstances then existing, it is hardly possible to fittingly portray the importance of General Logan's presence in the campaign for the re-election of Mr. Lincoln. It was the first Presidential election after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation; our victories had been won by great sacrifice. The platform upon which General McClellan was nominated had declared the war a failure, and was in favor of an armistice and renewal of fruitless peace negotiations, thereby betraying a want of sympathy with the policy of the Government on the part of [176] the party nominating him. Had the Government changed hands at this critical juncture, no one could have answered for the consequences. Mr. Lincoln felt this most deeply. His own perpetuation in office occupied little of his thoughts, but the vigorous prosecution of the war and the preservation of the Union were of infinite importance; hence he was as anxious for the success of his party in the civil campaign as he was for the army in the field.

General McClellan's acceptance of the nomination inspired the Democracy with much courage. They thought the element known as ‘War Democrats’ in and out of the army would rally round their leader. The most prominent journalists and party leaders were untiring in their efforts. General Logan was known as a War Democrat, and they expected he would support McClellan. They wrote him earnest letters, and appealed to him, the moment Atlanta had fallen, in such communications as the following, which was from one of the ablest journalists ever in Illinois, and a devoted friend and mentor of Senator Stephen A. Douglas during his eventful life:

office of the Chicago post, 93 Washington Street, Chicago, August 31 , 1864.
dear General:--
I enclose you a copy of the platform adopted by the convention. I want you, as a Democrat, to write a letter indorsing your fellow soldier, patriot, and Democrat. You never failed yet to meet any demand that the Democratic party or your country ever made upon your talents, or even your life. Will you refuse both when they jointly ask your voice in the election? In God's name, dear Logan, by all your hopes for your country and yourself, let not the Democracy ask your arm and be refused. You and I persistently refused to join any party, refused to accept the title of ‘War Democrats’ as distinguished from the old Democratic party of our early love, and, now that that party gives a rational and a national platform, will you refuse to give your voice in behalf [177] of our own soldier, patriot, Democrat, and statesman-McClellan? Give us one of your characteristic letters indorsing platform, nominee, and all, and from the very hearts of the party will go up a shout of thanks to you.

Yours truly, J. W. Sheahan.

Equally earnest letters were written from every quarter, not only to General Logan but to other officers of Democratic antecedents at the front, and to their friends at home, urging upon them the importance of winning the Presidential campaign with “Little Mac” as the leader.

Mr. Lincoln's anxiety to have General Logan enter the canvass being under discussion in a correspondence years later between General Sherman and General Logan, General Sherman wrote:

headquarters, Army of the United States, Washington, D. C., Feb. 20th, 1883.
General John A. Logan, U. S. Senate. Dear General:--
I beg to acknowledge receipt of your good letter of February 18th, and recall well the fact that about September 20th, 1864, I received at Atlanta a telegram from some one in authority, I think Mr. Lincoln himself, to the effect that your presence in Illinois was important to the National cause. You probably know that all my records were transferred to Lt. General Sheridan at the time he succeeded me in command of the Military Division of the Mississippi, and were burned up in the great Chicago fire. I only retained the blotters from which the official records were made up. In one of them I find my letter to Gen. Howard, commanding Army of the Tennessee, East Point:
I consent that you give Gen. Logan a leave. I have not yet heard from Gen. Grant, but in case of necessity, we can in Gen. Logan's absence, take care of the 15th Corps. There seems to be a special reason why he should go home at once.

This fully confirms what you write me, and looking back from the distance of time, I doubt not you were able to give material [178] help in the election of Mr. Lincoln, which was the greatest consideration of that day.

With great respect, Your friend, W. T. Sherman.

Colonel D. L. Phillips was bearer of Mr. Lincoln's note to General Logan, expressing his fears, and desiring Logan's services, which Mr. Lincoln believed would be potential on account of General Logan's affiliation with the Democratic party before the war. I regret extremely that Lincoln's request to General Logan was mislaid by a historian years ago, and could never be recovered. General Logan often spoke of it to me, and of the pleasure it gave him to think that Mr. Lincoln had such implicit faith in his power to influence the people to stand firmly at that vital period.

As soon as General Logan's speech after his arrival home from Atlanta was telegraphed over the country, he was deluged with telegrams from every part of the State, urging him to speak in the more prominent places, declaring it was necessary to counteract the efforts that were being made to induce voters of Democratic proclivities at the beginning of the war to support McClellan. Mr. Lincoln's friends realized the jeopardy that would follow a division of the vote of Illinois in the Electoral College, and therefore were determined that no such calamity should occur, if it was possible to prevent it by vigilance and desperate effort.

A list of appointments was made out by General Logan and the committee, which would consume nearly all the time intervening between his arrival home and the election. The list was published and a party made up to accompany him, including ladies and gentlemen who were well known in the State.

We left Carbondale in carriages, General Logan's carriage being drawn by the mules I had won from my brother-in-law. [179] In this carriage were Colonel Phillips, General Logan, and myself.

When we reached the first town on the list the enthusiastic crowd that greeted General Logan was innumerable. Many soldiers were home on furlough after the fall of Atlanta, and they were important factors in arousing the patriotism of the people. As we neared the towns we were met by throngs who, impatient to see General Logan, had gone out on the roads for miles to intercept him. The nearer we approached the wilder the cheers, until, before the people could be restrained, they had unhitched the mules, and, attaching a long rope to the axle, in a twinkling they were drawing the carriage, while others were following the mules, screaming: “Here's your mules, won by Mrs. Logan on Lincoln's election!” Gay streamers of red, white, and blue ribbons bedecked the dumb brutes that seemingly understood they were attracting attention, and were as docile as lambs, though we expected to see them resent with their heels the familiarity with which they were being handled. The towns were ablaze with bunting; the brass bands filled the air with patriotic music. We sometimes trembled lest the people, in their exuberant spirits and manifestations of cordiality and admiration, might permanently disable General Logan. He had to manage adroitly to seize their hands before they could get hold of his, so that he could drop theirs and save his from being crushed by their vigorous shaking. As it was, he had occasionally to put his hand in a sling. The people seemed unhappy if they could not get hold of him, and if his right hand was bound up they would slap him on the shoulders, embracing him in a way that would make him wince, though he knew their hearts were full of loyalty for him. Sometimes old fathers and mothers, whose sons had gone into the service under General Logan and had fallen in battle or died of disease or wounds in hospitals in the South, would come up to him and, with tears running down their cheeks, would grasp [180] his hands or pat him on the head affectionately. They could rarely speak for their emotions. When they could speak they would say: “Logan, can you tell us anything more about our boy? Was he a good soldier? Was his face always turned to the foe? We shall see him no more, but we will stand by the flag and Mr. Lincoln, because our boy gave his life for his country, and Mr. Lincoln is trying to save the Union and our country.” General Logan's great heart was deeply moved by such encounters, and the tears which ran down his cheeks told of his sympathy in stronger language than he could find words in which to express it.

Perhaps the next to push their way to him would be a company of men and women gotten up in grotesque uniforms of red, white, and blue, who were presented by their pseudo-captains, who usually had some amusing design worn as an insignia of the rank they held. Once, I remember, they carried a splendid live eagle, who sat his perch with becoming dignity while he was presented to General Logan in an elaborate speech which had to be repeated to the end by the voluble orator chosen for the important duty. General Logan accepted the gift, and assured his friends that he would carry the bird through the campaign; that he should be allowed to scream for the Republican party and its worthy nominees; and that with the eagle and the mules he was sure his canvass would not be in vain.

For six weeks we travelled from place to place, being at last obliged to take the train, and send the mules home, as we went farther North and the distance increased.

The farther North we went the greater the crowds and the wilder the excitement, convincing General Logan long before the election that Illinois could safely be counted for Lincoln and Johnson. Pathos and comedy followed each other in such quick succession during that memorable trip that we were constantly vibrating between tears and laughter over the grave and comic scenes we witnessed. [181]

We tried to be cheerful and to think that the worst of the war was over, but when the hour came for General Logan to return to the army it was with many forebodings that we bade him good-by.

He was ordered to report to General Grant at City Point, Virginia, as before mentioned. I was advised of the order sending him to relieve Thomas. With intense anxiety I watched the very meagre despatches in the papers, and hailed with delight the news of Thomas's victory and General Logan's return to Washington and New York, en route to Savannah, to join the Fifteenth Army Corps, which had made the holiday march from Atlanta to the sea under General Sherman. I believed then that by the time he could reach his command all the fighting would be over.

It was, however, a long and anxious winter. The troops were marching through swamps, over almost impassable roads, through Georgia and the Carolinas to Washington, stopping now and again to dislodge the Confederates from their final attempts at resistance to the Union troops, who were driving everything before them in their triumphant progress toward ending the bitter struggles for the preservation of the Union and for peace. We could get news from the army far less frequently than we desired. The refugees came in hordes from the South, seeking homes as near the border of the Southland as they could find. Colored and white dreaded the cold of the North, and as a consequence the people of the border States were overwhelmed with the numbers of impecunious creatures who had to leave the South. It was some time before they could adapt themselves to the changed conditions and accept the inevitable. New laws were passed giving the negroes protection on Southern soil, so that they came in very well as a solution of the problem of what to do for laborers with all the able-bodied men at the front. Although both races were insufferably slow, they could do something. [182] If you tactfully kept away from them when they were engaged in any kind of work they would get through eventually, and were a great improvement on having no one to do the indispensable manual labor.

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