- Organization of the Grand Army of the Republic -- history of the movement -- Declaration of principles -- General Logan elected commander-in -- Chief -- Subsidiary societies -- disaffection of President Johnson -- transfer of Booth's remains to Baltimore -- Johnson's attempt to remove Stanton -- impeachment of the President -- Logan one of the House Managers -- social Washington during the winter, 1867-8 -- Dickens's readings -- reception at the Grants' -- election of President Grant -- counting the electoral vote -- Colfax and Senator Wade -- the winter of 1868-9 State dinners at the White House -- origin of Decoration day due to General Logan.
A wonderful movement was started early in 1866 to carry out the organization of the Grand Army of the Republic, the history of which is as follows: To an Illinoisan belongs the credit of conceiving the grandest organization ever thought out by man for the perpetuation of “Fraternity, charity, and loyalty.” Reverend William J. Rutledge, while chaplain of the 14th Illinois Infantry, was the tent-mate of Major B. F. Stephenson, the surgeon of the regiment, to whom he was devotedly attached. In the weary hours of their marching and bivouac, Chaplain Rutledge had many conferences with Major Stephenson. Among the topics which they discussed was the future of the million and more of men who would soon lay down their arms and be scattered all over the Union, the chaplain insisting that they would naturally desire some form of association by which they could perpetuate their experiences as soldiers of the Union, and at the same time cultivate such a spirit of loyalty that a rebellion would be impossible in this country in the future.  Major Stephenson was deeply impressed by this suggestion, and appreciated the fact that an organization that would include all honorably discharged soldiers and sailors and the gallant officers who commanded them, whose fundamental principles were fraternity, loyalty, and charity, would be far-reaching in its benefits, the important point being to formulate a ritual that would serve the high and noble purposes they had in mind for such an organization. After a long correspondence Chaplain Rutledge went to Springfield to consult with Major Stephenson and to read the rough draught that Major Stephenson had prepared. In March, 1866, a conference was held in that city. To this conference, under bonds of secrecy, they invited Colonel J. M. Snyder, Doctor James Hamilton, Major Robert M. Woods, Major Robert Alien, Colonel Martin Flood, Colonel Daniel Grass, Colonel Edward Prince, Captain John S. Phelps, Captain John A. Lightfoot, Colonel B. F. Smith, Major A. A. North, Captain Henry F. Howe, and Lieutenant B. F. Hawkes (since colonel). Captain John S. Phelps was so enthusiastic over the proposition that he worked untiringly with Major Stephenson in perfecting the ritual, charter, and by-laws for the order. It is possible that the name was suggested by an organization that bore the name of “The Grand Army of progress” which was then in existence. The printing of the ritual was guarded so sacredly that the committee took it to Decatur, Illinois, so that they might put it into the hands of reliable friends whom they knew would join them, and who would not allow the matter to get out until they were ready to urge the formation of posts. Seeing the magnificent future of the order, the friends in Decatur determined to apply to Major Stephenson for a charter, and through him to organize the first post in that city. The 6th of April, 1866, Major Stephenson, by virtue of his authority as departmental commander of Illinois, having been so elected at the first meeting in Springfield, went to Decatur and, assisted by Captain  Phelps, organized the first post of the Grand Army of the Republic, the charter members being Captain M. F. Kana, Major G. R. Steele, Captain George H. Cunning, General Isaac C. Pugh, Major John H. Hale, Captain J. T. Bishop, Captain Christian Riebsame, Doctor J. W. Routh, Doctor B. F. Sibley, Isaac N. Coltrin, Sergeant J. M. Prior, and Lieutenant Aquilla Toland, all of whom had been in the service of their country and were keenly alive to the importance of the order as is shown by the Declaration of Principles expressed in the constitution of the Grand Army of the Republic, in the following heroic language:
At a subsequent national encampment, an additional section to Article I was added:
Following the organization of the posts at Decatur and Springfield, a call was made for a grand convention at Springfield for the launching of the Grand Army of the Republic. It was held July 112, 1866, and was largely attended by ex-Union officers and soldiers. This convention gave its unqualified indorsement to the plans formulated by Major Stephenson and his coworkers. They provided for the first national encampment, which was held at Indianapolis, November 20, 1866. General S. A. Hurlbut was elected commander-in-chief. The senior and junior vice-commanders, subordinate officers, and a council of administration were elected, and the order formally launched in its great work. For some reason the national encampment was not called in 1867, but met in Philadelphia January 15, 1868, when General John A. Logan was elected commander-in-chief. As was his wont, he threw his whole soul into the work and, after a conference with the officers then elected and the council of administration, proceeded to encourage the extending of the order and increasing its good works. He established national headquarters in Washington, and drew around him an able staff.  General Logan was thrice elected commander-in-chief, and no service of his whole life was more satisfactory than that given in behalf of his comrades at arms. The destinies of the Grand Army have been presided over by the truest and the best. From its very inception the Grand Army of the Republic was destined to a great and noble work and to supply a place in the desires of patriotic men that no other had been able to do. The provision eschewing politics and religion and providing for the banding together under the most sacred secret obligations to work together for the defence of their country, for the alleviation of each other's woes, for the uplifting and betterment of each other and those dependent upon them, touched a responsive chord in the heart of every soldier, who knew by experience that every man who signed such an obligation would be true to it. The plan for the organization of posts in every hamlet, town, and city, and to unite them in departments in every State, and once a year to meet in a grand national encampment, would insure the perpetuity of their comradeship. The post would supply the place of the soldier's regiment; the convention of the department of the State his corps; and the national encampment that of the army to which he belonged. At the camp-fires of these meetings he could live over again scenes which were burned into his memory by the heat of battle. He would have a resource in every dilemma that might overtake him through life, and friends to succor him in sickness and misfortune and who would follow him to the grave when he was finally mustered out. The ritual appealed so strongly to the men that to-day, nearly fifty years after the war, the Grand Army of the Republic is many thousands strong. It has borne upon its rolls more than 30000, 000000 ex-Union soldiers. It has expended thousands of dollars in charity for its members and their families. To the Grand Army of the Republic more than to any other order do the unfortunate look for aid. If a comrade is sick, he sends to his post for sympathy  and help. If he seeks employment, he can rely upon his comrades to vouch for him. He knows that when the end comes he will be laid to rest by the members of his post, and that a stone will mark his last resting-place, and that it will never be reared in a potter's field. He knows that each recurring 30th of May flowers will be strewn above the low green mounds where sleep the loyal dead. It is a curious fact that the genius who was the author of so magnificent an organization should have been in his last days one of the very unfortunates for whom he was so solicitous in his days of prosperity. Overtaken by misfortune and an ill-starred fate, Major Stephenson, after years of discouragement, died and was buried at Rock Creek, Menard County, Illinois, August 30, 1871, though scarcely at the zenith of his manhood. August 29, 1882, Estill Post 71, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Illinois, removed Major Stephenson's remains to Petersburgh, Illinois, and reinterred them among the soldiers of Rose Hill Cemetery with impressive ceremonies, thus rescuing him from the oblivion of an unmarked grave. A few years ago the national organization of the Grand Army of the Republic erected a monument to his memory in Washington. In their stupendous work of succoring the suffering, comforting the living, caring for the dying and the dead, the Grand Army of the Republic has far exceeded the work of any other organization of the same age the world has ever known. In the cultivation of a spirit of patriotism it has accomplished more than has been done by any other methods ever adopted. The rush to enlist for the Spanish-American War and for service in the Philippines attests the patriotism of all American citizens from whatever section or nationality they may have sprung. This influence in the retrospect doubtless inspired the organization of the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution and other kindred societies. It is probably not too much to say that had there been a  Grand Army of the Republic at the close of the War of the Revolution, there never would have been any War of the Rebellion. Fraternal ties in the interest of patriotism would have prevented the growth of sectionalism. Realizing that a time would come when the last ex-Union soldier would lie down to peaceful slumber, a wise provision has been made for the perpetuation of the spirit and principles of the Grand Army of the Republic by the formation of the Society of Sons of Veterans, who are pledged: To keep green the memories of our fathers, and their services for the maintenance of the Union. To aid the members of the Grand Army of the Republic in caring for their helpless and disabled veterans. To extend aid and protection to the widows and orphans. To perpetuate the memory in history of their heroic deeds and the proper observance of Memorial Day. To inculcate patriotism and love of country, not only among our membership, but among all the people of the land, and to spread and sustain the doctrines of equal rights, universal liberty, and justice to all. Thus we see another result of the inculcation of the principles of patriotic devotion to the land of our nativity or adoption, and can rest secure for the eternal preservation of a government that guarantees to its people the protection of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In executing their deeds of local charity the Grand Army of the Republic found they must call to their assistance the good and loyal women. There were innumerable cases where only a woman could minister to the unfortunate; hence almost every post has auxiliaries in the persons of noble women who do as much as the members of the posts for the helpless and indigent. In 1883, at the national encampment of the Grand Army, held at Denver, Colorado, such glorious women as Florence Barker, of Massachusetts; Kate B. Sherwood, of Ohio; Annie Wittenmyer, of Pennsylvania; Mrs. L. A. Turner, of Massachusetts; Clara Barton; and a score of others organized the  Woman's Relief Corps as auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic. Since the time of the organization of this corps, the parent society has had to look well to its honors, as these noble women have raised and distributed their hundreds of thousands of dollars; built homes for the indigent widows, mothers, and daughters of ex-soldiers, and in all respects have performed heroic benevolent service. They have borne upon their rolls the names of gifted and famous women, and perhaps have had the largest membership of any benevolent society ever organized. Their management of the enormous sums of money coming into the treasuries of the national and local corps has commanded the highest encomiums from the ablest financiers of the country, assuring the continuation of this great society of patriotic women, who in turn will be succeeded by the Daughters of Veterans, their worthy auxiliary. Soon after Vice-President Johnson had assumed the reins of government murmurings were heard from every quarter of his disaffection toward the reconstruction plans of the party in power. It was feared by many that, upon the principle that “blood is thicker than water,” Mr. Johnson would allow his Southern blood to influence him to such an extent that he would surrender everything that had been won to the parties late in rebellion, and for whom, notwithstanding their persecution of himself and family during the war, he had suddenly conceived the most intense infatuation. I have vivid recollections of the stirring events which occurred during the session of Congress which convened December, 1867, at which time there were grave apprehensions over reconstruction. The political rivalries of the summer had intensified the partisan feeling. States lately in rebellion, seeing their advantage in the sympathy of the administration, were clamorous for rehabilitation in all their forfeited rights. The domination of the ignorant colored people, and their unfitness for a proper use of hitherto unknown  privileges; their pliancy, in many instances, in the hands of unscrupulous men; the resentment and ugly spirit of the native Southerners toward all who came among them to make their homes in the Southern States; the absence of slaves to do their bidding, and the galling necessity that they must work like the hated “Northern mudsills,” made the situation deplorable. It was a serious problem how these seemingly irreconcilable elements were to be harmonized and made to dwell in peace together, until Congress should pass a general law under which the seceded States could again take part in the Government. Disagreement waxed hotter and hotter between the Republican party and President Johnson over the policy adopted by Mr. Johnson, and a serious conflict ensued. Congress, then Republican by a large majority, preferred articles of impeachment against Johnson, and spent much time in an unsuccessful effort to convict him. During these long, eventful months Mr. Johnson, in a spirit of resentment, as much as of clemency toward the criminals, pardoned a great many who had been convicted of various treasonable offences, reaching a climax during the last few days of his administration by the pardoning of Spangler and Arnold, conspirators in the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, who were then confined on the Dry Tortugas. The remains of Henry Wirz, the keeper of Andersonville prison, were surrendered to his friend Louis Schade, who caused them to be interred at Mount Olivet Cemetery, in the District of Columbia, the 3d of March, 1869. They were exhumed from the ground floor of Warehouse No. 2 of the arsenal. About the same date the family of John Wilkes Booth secured an order from President Johnson for the surrender of Booth's body through his brother Edwin Booth, another famous tragedian of this illustrious family of actors. John T. Ford, owner of Ford's Theatre, who had suffered much on account of his supposed complicity in the assassination of  Mr. Lincoln, but had succeeded in vindicating himself without any break in his friendship with the Booths, aided materially in bringing about the interview between Edwin Booth and President Johnson which resulted in the President making the order that the remains should be given to Edwin Booth's representatives. Mr. Booth was then playing an engagement in Baltimore, and, while he had never visited Washington, nor could be induced to play at any of the theatres at the capital after his brother's mad act, came quickly to carry out his desire of recovering his brother's body and to inter it in the burial lot of the Booth family, in Greenmount Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland. On what was to him a melancholy day he waited in the front room of the undertaking establishment of Harvey & Marr, then on F Street in the city of Washington, while a Baltimore undertaker, who had performed the service of undertaker for the Booths many times previously, Mr. Jacob H. Weaver, and R. F. Harvey went to the arsenal, armed with the President's order for the body. The officer in charge promptly obeyed, causing a detail of soldiers to assist in exhuming and transporting the body to the wagon provided by Mr. Harvey, to whose establishment it was taken, where it was identified by Edwin Booth, and subsequently taken to Baltimore and buried privately beside his kindred. So carefully was the transfer made, and so discreet was every one who had to be intrusted with the matter, that even the alert newspaper reporters failed to get a hint of the disinterment and removal of the body of the assassin until some time afterward. That these are the facts there is no doubt, though there is no record of the matter, unless Mr. Weaver or his descendants have one, but up to this time none has ever been made public. Mr. Harvey died some years ago, but unfortunately the records of his business could never be found by his son, his successor. Public feeling at that time was so strong against every one connected with the conspiracy and the assassination that Mr. Johnson was execrated  for these acts. Had it been known at the time, there might have been violent opposition to the execution of his orders for the surrendering of Booth's body. Fortunately time has softened the bitterness and cooled the passions of the people, and to-day there would be no opposition to the surrendering of the lifeless body of so great a criminal as John Wilkes Booth to those dear to him by the ties of nature after he had paid the penalty of his crime. There is probably not a single survivor of that appalling conspiracy, or any one living who participated in the capture, trial, conviction, and punishment of the conspirators, or the restoration of their bodies to their relatives and friends. Mr. Johnson conceived the idea that Mr. Stanton, Secretary of War under Lincoln, was inimical to the consummation of his designs, and decided that he would remove Stanton from his position. The party resented this step indignantly, and insisted on Mr. Stanton remaining. The President as vigorously demanded that he should vacate his office, until the matter became so serious that the President threatened forcible ejectment. At the request of his party Mr. Stanton remained continuously in the War Department, having a bed placed in his private office and his meals served there also, lest, during his absence after office hours, the President should install General Lorenzo Thomas as Secretary of War, as he threatened to do. General Grant, then General of the Army, was consulted as to calling out the troops, but, happily, he advised against such a step. At that time General Logan was commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, and, realizing the delicacy of the situation, he called the members of the organization together secretly, there being many ex-Union officers and soldiers employed in the departments in Washington at that time. He formed battalions and placed them under the command of efficient officers. Sentinels in citizens' dress were on duty every hour of the day and night, especially in the vicinity of the White House  and the old War Department building. Countersigns were given and signals agreed upon for an emergency, should it be necessary to protect Mr. Stanton. General Logan occupied a cot beside Secretary Stanton in the War Department, so that he could summon the Grand Army at a moment's notice. During the imbroglio between Mr. Johnson and Congress, the greatest excitement since the assassination of President Lincoln prevailed. Every day startling announcements were made of the President's overt acts, and of the resentment of Congress. The climax was reached when Brevet Brigadier-General Lorenzo Thomas was arrested on the charge of attempted usurpation of authority that did not belong to him as adjutant-general of the War Department. He was released on a bond of five thousand dollars, signed by a Mr. George R. Hall and Elias A. Eliason. President Johnson irritated Congress further by sending in the name of General Lorenzo Thomas for Lieutenant-General. He was not confirmed. The warfare continued until articles of impeachment of President Johnson were prepared and presented in the House of Representatives. General Logan being chosen one of the managers on the part of the House, he was wholly engrossed with the case for many weeks, scarcely leaving our rooms except to attend the sessions of the House, and, although they were unsuccessful, General Logan demonstrated his great ability as lawyer and statesman, and has left on record an unanswerable argument for the prosecution. I was deeply interested in everything transpiring, and spent many hours of the day and night hunting up authorities, marking paragraphs in law-reports and the newspapers which had any bearing on impeachment cases. This work, in addition to the care of my two children, receiving calls, returning visits, accepting and declining invitations kept me busy. I was, however, very happy, as I enjoyed the interesting people who came as visitors  and those who were temporary or permanent residents of the capital. During the winter and spring the political excitement that invariably precedes a Presidential campaign grew to a white heat, the Republican party almost unanimously desiring General Grant as the nominee for the Presidency. The assembling of the national convention, the presenting of General Grant's name by General Logan, and Grant's unanimous nomination by the convention, with Schuyler Colfax as Vice-President, were brief affairs. With the overwhelming majority of the Republican party north of the Mason and Dixon line at that time, it would be superfluous to add that they were both elected at the November election of 1868. Socially the winter of 1867 and 1868 was as brilliant as possible under the circumstances. Mr. Johnson's family were much out of health, and, though his charming daughters, Mrs. Stover and Mrs. Patterson, did all in their power, they were unable to dispel the gloom that ever overhangs a discordant administration. With the executive out of harmony with his party, it made it doubly hard for the cabinet to keep up social good feeling, notwithstanding the fact that Secretaries Seward, McCulloch, Browning, Randall, Welles, and General Grant, as General of the Army, gave the regulation receptions and dinners. They were magnificent affairs, and under serene political skies would have been happy events. Many of the private entertainments were on a grand scale. SenatorPomeroy and Mrs. Pomeroy, of Kansas, gave delightful parties, dinners, and receptions, as did also GeneralButler and Mrs. Butler. One magnificent party given by GeneralButler and Mrs. Butler in their home on the corner of I and Fifteenth Streets on the occasion of the debut of their daughter, Miss Blanche, has scarcely been rivalled by the superb affairs of later years. The house was decorated profusely with the rarest flowers of the season. The soulless, scentless camellias were then  the fad. Thousands of these flowers, whose petals will not bear the slightest touch, were arranged in every conceivable shape, while ferns and palms made the whole house a bower. Everybody of any distinction was there, and was loath to leave when the wee sma‘ hours announced the near approach of the dawn of another day. Mr. Sumner gave many of his superb dinners where delicate viands lost their flavor in comparison with the “feast of reason and flow of soul” all enjoyed who sat at his board. It is a melancholy thought that the march of time necessitates the removal of these historic houses. The dumb walls have not rehearsed for preservation the many occasions when, around Mr. Sumner's table, the most distinguished and cultured men and women of this and other lands have discussed the absorbing questions of the day. Under a recent arrangement by capitalists to erect a magnificent hotel on the grounds where once stood the Arlington, a conglomerate combination of the historic houses once the homes of Sumner, Reverdy Johnson, and Hon. James A. Harlan, who was Mr. Lincoln's Secretary of the Interior and later senator from Iowa, these houses have been torn down and very soon these edifices and their illustrious occupants will be known no more. Mr. Hooper, of Massachusetts, who lived in a house on the corner of H and Fifteenth Streets, which has been supplanted by the Hotel Shoreham, also gave many delightful dinners, his inseparable friend, Mr. Sumner, usually being one of the guests. I remember once, at a dinner given by GeneralButler and Mrs. Butler, to have had the honor of Mr. Sumner's escort to the table, and shall ever recall it as one of the most delightful dinners of my life, though I have long since forgotten all about what we had to eat. So charming was Mr. Sumner in conversation that the three hours we sat at the table in those days slipped by all too quickly. February I, 1868, Dickens came to Washington to give readings from his own inimitable writings. There was not a  suitable auditorium in the city at that time, and Mr. Dolby, agent for Dickens, could only secure old Carroll Hall, which was formerly on F Street, between Ninth and Tenth Streets. Mr. Quimby, of Detroit, Michigan, a devoted friend of General Logan, invited the general and myself to accompany him for the series. They were a rare treat. Notwithstanding Mr. Dickens's monotonous style of reading, the innate drollery of the man, manifested in his intonations and gestures, made his readings very interesting. Beginning February 6 with “Doctor Marigold,” and the trial scene from “Pickwick,” he also read extracts from “Nicholas Nickleby,” “Old curiosity shop,” “Martin Chuzzlewit,” “Dombey and son” and “The Christmas carol,” using precisely the same intonations for every character, whether pathetic or comic. During his stay he was entertained by Charles Sumner and many other distinguished people, enjoying particularly walking about the city at night with Captain Kelly, Charles Sumner, and Mr. Stanton. He was the guest of Sir Edward Thornton, the English minister, who had succeeded Sir Frederick Bruce on the death of that illustrious diplomat. Dickens carried away, as a result of his readings in America, thirteen thousand dollars, then considered a fabulous sum. At the time of his first visit, 1847, he had given much offence to the people of this country by his criticisms of America and Americans, and by his drastic description in “Martin Chuzzlewit” of Cairo, Illinois, and the swamps of that section, which, he declared, caused even the frogs to shake with the ague. It is a curious coincidence that his son should have come to the United States so lately to deliver lectures, and that he should have been invited to Cairo, Illinois, in order to counteract, even at this late date, the impression which “Martin Chuzzlewit” had created of Cairo. He was royally entertained in that city, and subsequently addressed a letter to the mayor that did him great credit. Unfortunately, the  brilliant son of a brilliant father died in New York at the close of his tour. It is not too much to say that the prima donnas, actresses, and actors of that time were greater artistes than those of today. The operas were finer, and the plays which came under the head of legitimate drama were of a higher order than those presented in these latter days. Washington was favored by the engagements of Adelina Patti, Brignoli, Ritter, Cellini, Boetti, and Herr Hermanus. Ole Bull gave two concerts during the winter. Parepa Rosa, cantatrice, gave two grand concerts in Metezrott Hall during January. Mrs. Scott Siddons, granddaughter of the great Siddons, appeared at the National with a fine company in Shakespeare's plays. Kate Bateman, John Owen, Sothern, and many other celebrated actors and actresses made the amusements for the winter delightful, the theatres being crowded every night. GeneralGrant and Mrs. Grant were the recipients of much attention; you met them everywhere. General John A. Rawlins, General Dent, Mrs. Grant's brother, General Badeau later General Grant's biographer-General Comstock, General Horace Porter, General O. E. Babcock, all members of General Grant's staff, often accompanied the general. General Grant's friends had presented to him the house on I Street, owned and occupied by the late Matthew Emery. The large parlors of that palatial mansion were inadequate to accommodate the numbers who were eager to pay their respects at every recurrent reception day of Mrs. Grant. All their children were at home then and the survivors of that time-remember the charming household. With GeneralGrant and Mrs. Grant in the centre, Fred, the eldest son and the most like his illustrious father, Ulysses, Jr., Nellie, with her sweet face, her long hair hanging down her back, and her beautiful eyes as gentle as those of a gazelle, and Jesse, the youngest, they are immortalized in the painting by Cogswell, known as “Grant and his family.”  In the Grant home on I Street, I witnessed one historic gathering which will ever be most vivid in my mind. After the nomination of Grant and Colfax at Chicago, the committee appointed to wait upon them and notify them of their nomination was composed of J. R. Hawley of Connecticut, Lewis Barker of Maine, C. N. Riottet of Texas, Willard Warner of Alabama, J. M. Hedrik of Iowa, John Evans of Colorado, S. M. Cullom of Illinois, R. T. Van Horn of Missouri, J. K. Dubois of Illinois, T. L. Tullock of Virginia, J. W. Holden of North Carolina, T. F. Lee of North Carolina, W. C. Goodloe of Kentucky, Valentine Dill of Arkansas, J. H. Harris of North Carolina, A. McDonald of Arkansas, B. F. Rice of Arkansas, H. A. Pierce of Virginia, and others. They came to Washington, and it was arranged that Mr. Colfax should go to General Grant's house, and that the committee should call upon them there. Mrs. Grant kindly advised a few special friends, inviting them to be present. General Logan and I were among the fortunate number. We reached the Grant home about eight o'clock, or a little after. Mr. Colfax, his distinguished mother, Mrs. Matthews, and his half-sister, Miss Matthews, arrived soon after, followed by Mr. E. B. Washburn, Mr. Halsey, of New Jersey, and General Grant's staff-Generals Rawlins, Babcock, Dent, Badeau, and Colonel Comstock. After exchanging greetings and pleasantries, General Grant was informed that the committee had arrived. He and Mr. Colfax moved to the rear of the parlor, and stood side by side while the committee was presented. Mrs. Grant and her venerable father, Mr. Dent, and Mrs. and Miss Matthews were not far from them. After the presentation, Governor Hawley, with all the power of his eloquence in his palmy days, made the speech on behalf of the committee, informing General Grant and Mr. Colfax that they had been chosen the standard-bearers of the Republican party for the campaign. General Grant had the same unpretentious bearing, so  characteristic of him under all circumstances. His reply was very brief, and that with much embarrassment, leaving Mr. Colfax, a fine speaker, to make the speech of acceptance for the nominees of the Republican party. The guests who were present stood about the group with rapt attention, feeling it a great privilege to have been present at such a ceremony. After it was over the party was invited into the dining-room where refreshments were served, and the company dispersed. Mrs. Grant was so cordial and unassuming, and received her guests with such simplicity of manner that she won all hearts. Every one went away quite as ready to be her champion as that of her husband, their chieftain. While writing the names of the committee and the guests present that I remember, I am overwhelmed with the melancholy thought that so few remain of the conspicuous figures of that occasion. The campaign of 1868 was probably the most enthusiastic of any since 1860. The ex-Union soldiers were everywhere wild with delight over the nomination of General Grant as the leader of the party. Every political demonstration was participated in by them. Flags, banners, patriotic music rendered by glee clubs and brass bands were the order of the day. The well-worn uniforms of the soldiers were donned for all such occasions, and it was not surprising that the November election witnessed the largest majorities ever polled by a party, nor that General Grant and Schuyler Colfax were elected overwhelmingly. When Congress assembled December I, 1868, there was general rejoicing, because it was thought there would be little trouble over reconstruction and other vexatious problems. The South felt that so magnanimous a conqueror as General Grant had shown himself would be their friend under the severe trials through which they must pass before they could again become a part and parcel of the compact they had tried to dissolve. You heard no mutterings from any quarter.  Congress felt sure that, now the die was cast, Mr. Johnson would not attempt further arbitrary action, but would probably finish his term in a quiet way. He gratified himself and vented his spleen on Congress for their attempted impeachment by pardoning every one he could, especially those who had been debarred from political rights because of participation in the rebellion. His proclamation covered such cases as those of Jefferson Davis, Slidell, Mason, Mann, and other exiles who hastened to return to the United States after having sought refuge across the seas. He closed his career with a “Farewell address,” in which he arraigned all who opposed him, and lauded himself in a most remarkable manner. After Congress reassembled, the Tenure of Office bill was repealed in time for Grant to make such changes as he thought important. Reconstructive legislation continued, many of the States wishing to come back into the Union that they might reassume their relations to the Government, and have representatives in both Houses of Congress; so, while they deemed Mr. Johnson powerless for harm, they pressed the work, well knowing that the new Congress, who would take their seats after the 4th of March, 1869, would be so largely of one party that there might be delay in adjusting these questions. The opposition, recognizing this fact, in most cases acquiesced. At no time in the history of the Government have there been abler men in Congress than there were then. Among the senators were Sumner, Wade, Chandler, Morton, Fessenden, Conkling, Morgan, Sherman, Morrill, Voorhees, Trumbull, Anthony, and Wilson. In the House were Garfield, Colfax, Butler, Brooks, Bingham, Blaine, Shellabarger, Wilson, Allison, Cullom, Logan, Ames, Hooper, Washburne, Boutwell, Randall, and Voorhees. Such men were earnest, thoughtful, patriotic and keenly alive to the interests of the country. They allowed nothing to pass that was in any sense questionable. February 10, 1869, was a memorable day. It was gloomy  and disagreeable, but that had no influence on the multitude that gathered at the Capitol to witness the counting of the electoral vote which was to declare Grant and Colfax President and Vice-President of the United States. Senator Wade, of Ohio, vice-president of the Senate, and Mr. Colfax, then speaker of the House, were to preside over the joint session of the two Houses, which was to assemble in the House of Representatives. Tickets were necessary to procure admission to the galleries. By ten o'clock every available space was taken. The diplomatic gallery was occupied by the foreign representatives, including Sir Edward Thornton, Baron Gerolt, Blacque Bey, Mr. DeBille, and other distinguished foreigners who were much engrossed with American affairs. In the reserved galleries were Mrs. Grant, Mrs. Dent, Mrs. Sharp, members of General Grant's staff, Mrs. Matthews, Schuyler Colfax's mother, and his sister, wives and ladies of the Supreme Court, senators and members, and also many distinguished visitors in the city. On the motion of some member, permission was given to admit ladies on the floor in the rear of the members' seats. In a brief time every available spot was occupied. At twelve o'clock the House was called to order, and the opening prayer was followed by some minor motions incident to the morning hours. The hour-hand pointed to one o'clock; the sergeant-at-arms, General Ordway, announced the presence of the Senate and their desire to be admitted. Preceded by Colonel Brown, sergeant-at-arms of the Senate, the whole body filed in and took the seats provided for them. The imperturbable Ben Wade, ascending the speaker's platform, took the presiding officer's chair with Mr. Colfax on his right. As soon as all were seated Mr. Wade took up the gavel and called the joint House to order. The clerk then proceeded to call the roll of States. As soon as the first contested State was reached, a discussion arose and the Senate withdrew to discuss the question separately.  After an hour and a half the Senate returned to continue the count. During the absence of the Senate, the members of the House discussed also the question of rights of States to cast their votes where an irregularity was charged, some of the members exhibiting much feeling. They had not gone far when they again got into a wrangle over the State of Georgia, General Butler leading in the attack upon Mr. Wade, who, in the generosity of his heart, had recognized the gentleman from Massachusetts, not anticipating the muddle to which it would lead. A second withdrawal of the Senate was necessary, and while they were out they determined that such proceedings should not continue, as it looked at one time as if the time prescribed by the Constitution might elapse before they could finish their work, from which untold complications might arise. Consequently, upon the renewal of the motions by General Butler, a number of members arose to the defence of Mr. Wade and Mr. Colfax seized the gavel and restored order, declaring that the sergeant-at-arms would be called to his assistance if the disorder continued. After some further discussion the count was finished, and the joint assembly adjourned. General Logan was much excited over what he termed discourtesy to the revered Mr. Wade. It seemed to him outrageous that any member of that body should embarrass and confuse the venerable statesman in the closing hours of his long and faithful career. General Logan's castigation of Butler in as strong terms as parliamentary rules would allow elicited prolonged applause and contributed much to restoring order, securing for Mr. Wade the respect and consideration due to him. On adjournment it was most interesting to see the groups of men discussing the proceedings of the day, and to hear their denunciatory remarks on those who had attempted to delay the count and annoy Mr. Wade. We were then living at Willard's Hotel. That evening about eight o'clock there was a knock on our parlor door, and in  answer to the command to enter Mr. Wade walked in, and, extending his hand to General Logan, he said: “Logan, God bless you; I have come here to thank you for coming to my rescue to-day when they attempted to crucify and mortify me. My blunder was in recognizing any one, after which I could do nothing but bull it through.” He had his umbrella in his hands, and emphasized every word by striking it on the floor. In all respects he was a quaint figure, but so earnest and enthusiastic that he commanded the admiration of every one who came in contact with him. We prevailed on him to sit down, and the memory of that visit will abide with me forever. He spoke with much emotion of his long service for the cause of human liberty. He said he retired to private life to spend the remnant of his days contentedly in the consciousness of having performed his duty to the best of his ability. He spoke most affectionately of Mr. Lincoln, and was grateful his lines had been cast in the same epoch, and that he had been able to do something to further the cause for which Mr. Lincoln had been martyred. We heard much that winter of Alabama claims, the great methods of arbitration in international affairs and other questions, signifying that we were entering upon a wonderful era in human affairs; that, with the close of our rebellion, came a new order of things which was to mark the greatest progress in republicanism. Congress met the first Monday in December, 1868. The gloom following the assassination of Mr. Lincoln by a madman, immediately upon the dawn of peace after four long years of fratricidal war, still hung like a pall over Washington. To this melancholy event was added the personal sorrow of very many who wore the habiliments of mourning for loved ones lost during the war. Mr. Johnson was naturally a serious man, and was so overwhelmed by the grave responsibilities resting upon him in the trying position in which he was placed that it seemed as if the pall would never lift. Mrs.  Johnson was an invalid and could do nothing to brighten the home of the President. Fortunately their daughters, Mrs. Stover and Mrs. Patterson, were typical Southern ladies with rare accomplishments, fascinating manners, and fine conversational powers. They appreciated keenly their social rank, and were anxious to do everything possible to make the White House attractive and to have every one feel that it was the people's house, which they occupied temporarily. Therefore they extended a very cordial welcome to all who were entitled to be received. In both houses of Congress there were many of the most distinguished men of the nation. In the Senate Hamlin, Sumner, Conkling, Fenton, Fessenden, Frelinghuysen, Booth, McDougall, Simon Cameron, Chandler, Howard, Kellogg, Morrill of Vermont, Morrill of Maine, Wilson, Boutwell, Bayard, Morton, Williams of Oregon, Yates, Trumbull, and others, made it one of the ablest bodies that ever convened in any country. In the House there were Washburn, Logan, Cullom, Judd, Arnold, Singleton, Wentworth, Henderson, Farnsworth, Cook, Sherman, Schenck, Garfield, Grow, Shellabarger, Bingham, Archer, Thaddeus Stevens, Clymer, Williams, Colfax,Voorhees,Davis,Banks,Butler,WheelerWood, Slocum, Brooks, Frye, Blaine, Hale, Boutwell, Allison, Wilson of Iowa, and a score of others who were leaders of men and statesmen in every sense of the word. Before the Christmas holidays the breach between the President and Congress had widened so seriously that it was evident that the last days of Mr. Johnson's administration were to be full of friction and unpleasantness between himself and his party. As if in sympathy with the political situation, January 1, 1869, was one of the gloomiest of days; a cold rain fell all the night before and continued during New Year's Day. Every preparation, however, had been made for the reception at the White House. The Marine Band, under the leadership of the well-remembered  Professor Scala, was in its accustomed place. The President, his daughters, Mrs. Stover and Mrs. Patterson, and Miss Cohen, of Tennessee, assisted by one or two of the ladies of the cabinet, received the callers. Secretary Seward presented the Diplomatic Corps and their ladies, all of whom appeared in regal costume; the gentlemen were in full court dress, wearing all their orders. Stately Sir Edward Thornton and gracious Lady Thornton led the column in which followed M. Bethemy, the French minister; M. Blacque Bey, the Turkish minister; Baron Gerolt, of Prussia, and his lovely wife and beautiful daughters; Mr. DeBille, the Danish minister, and his charming wife; Don Jose Antonio Garcia, of Peru; and the whole list of the distinguished diplomats then in Washington. This was Mr. Seward's last appearance at a New Year's reception, and, as many looked upon him as the last of Mr. Lincoln's cabinet, they felt a pang of regret that in so brief a time every representative of that administration should have gone out forever. The diplomatic corps was followed by the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Chase, Associate Justices Nelson, Clifford, Davis, Miller, Strong, Swayne-all now gone to another world, with the majority of the throng that surged through the White House that dreary day. The cabinet was well represented, Secretary Stanton alone being absent. Secretaries Welles, McCulloch, Browning, Stanberry, P. M. G. Randall were there, each contributing his best efforts to the pleasure of every one. Very few of the Senate and House appeared-Senators Sprague, Dixon, Doolittle, Grimes, Trumbull, Ross, and a few others attended; of the House there were even fewer who paid their respects. The army, led by General Grant and a long list of military officers, presented an imposing appearance, as also the officers of the navy, following Admirals Farragut and Porter. There were then a number of officers of both branches of the service in Washington who had but recently been relieved from  active duty. The bureau officers, different organizations, and privileged persons had scarcely passed the President when a fearful crowd from the streets pushed their way in, their feet muddy and their clothing dripping with the rain in which they had been standing outside. The President encouraged their coming, and very soon the reception became a motley surging crowd, to the disgust of dignified people. Mr. Johnson's cabinet, Mr. Seward, Mr. McCulloch, Mr. Stanton, Mr. Welles, Mr. Browning, Mr. Randall, and Mr. Stanberry, were all men of national reputation. Their families were, without exception, charming people who enjoyed conforming to all the social requirements of their positions. They gave dinners, luncheon parties, afternoon and evening receptions, and made their guests feel they were pleased to see them. No one ever heard the wives of those officials say they were “bored to death by callers” or that they “despised society.” Their entertainments were beautiful and on a scale of magnificence equal to those of the moneyed kings of to-day, who claim to rival Belshazzar's feasts in their extravagant entertainments, which are, as a rule, ordered from caterers and decorators and have few personal touches displaying the taste of the hosts or anything that betrays the delightful hospitality of a real home. The most refined people came to Washington every winter, because of the opportunity to meet celebrities. It was a pleasure to take these visitors to pay their respects to officials and their families, of whom all loyal Americans were justly proud. Every one was assured of a cordial welcome, the recipients appreciating the honor conferred upon them by those calls. No one was made to feel he was an intruder; neither did any one presume upon the courtesy extended to him. If the cabinet ladies felt their duties irksome, they were too well bred or too diplomatic to betray their feelings. Chief Justice Chase, in his then considered palatial home  on the corner of Fifth and F Streets, gave royal dinners and parties. His daughters, Mrs. Kate Chase Sprague and Miss Nettie Chase, both fascinating and brilliant women, presided over the home of the chief justice, and made it one of the most attractive in the city. Here eminent statesmen and learned men and women of the time were dined and entertained with lavish hospitality. Justices Miller, Strong, and Swayne, and their attractive families gave many social functions in their spacious homes, where one met persons who were interesting and celebrated on account of their achievements. It may be imaginary, but when one recalls the resplendent social affairs given by Sir Edward and Lady Thornton, the French minister, the German minister Baron Gerolt, Mr. De Bille, the Danish minister, Mr. Zamacona, the Mexican minister, the Garcias, of Peru, and others of the Diplomatic Corps, one feels that diplomatic hospitality was more brilliant and frequent than it is in these days of boundless prosperity and greater cordiality between all nations and the United States. Many of the senators and members of Congress were men of wealth for that epoch, who entertained lavishly in their own homes. It was rare that their dinners were cooked by caterers. They lived well every day, and a dinner was to them merely a question of what guests they desired to invite. Mr. Sumner's dinners, as I have already said, were famous. The most delicious viands lost their flavor when compared with the intellectual feast that all enjoyed who sat at his board. Mr. Hooper, his most intimate friend, vied with Mr. Sumner in dinner-giving and in the choosing of brilliant people. The Frelinghuysens, with three lovely young ladies in the house, GeneralButler and Mrs. Butler with their charming daughter Blanche, afterward Mrs. Ames, were delightful hosts who enjoyed having their friends. GeneralGrant and Mrs. Grant, AdmiralPorter and Mrs. Porter, and very many more gave superb  dinners and receptions that were no less resplendent than those given every winter since. There was a charm about the dinners given in those days which, it must be admitted, does not characterize such gatherings now. They were less formal but there was more sincere cordiality than is manifested in latter-day social functions. On account of the political imbroglios which Mr. Johnson was unfortunate enough to precipitate, the state dinners, though given punctiliously, were not especially enjoyable. With the President out of harmony with his party, no amount of feminine tact could keep the sparks from flying, especially when the poles were in such close proximity as a dinner-table necessitates. However, President Johnson's daughters, with consummate tact, decided to give a brilliant and memorable social function in the White House which would not be clouded by any political collisions or awkward coupling of guests. The grandchildren of President Johnson, Frank Johnson, Andrew Stover, Sallie and Lillie Stover, were all very attractive. Mrs. Stover, a most charming woman, conceived the idea of converting the staid old mansion into fairy-land and filling it with the fairies that inhabit every city, in this way hoping to avoid the unpleasant meeting of political rivals. Invitations of the most formal character were issued two weeks or more before the affair was to occur. Every child honored by one was in a great state of excitement lest his costume should not be gorgeous enough for such a grand occasion. Indulgent mammas exhausted every resource in designing and providing the bewildering fairylike garments, which were often provided with wings, that the children might have the true resemblance to elves. The decorators made the corridors, east room, and parlors bowers of vines and flowers, that the little creatures might disport themselves in a veritable fairy-land. Professors Marini and Bates prepared the grand promenade,  fairy dances, and music for the occasion. “Mammas” and “papas” were invited to accompany the children, so that the company was very large. The children of the White House received their guests in the blue room, thence passing into the green room, the doors of which were closed, so that none might enter the east room before the procession. The hours were from six to eleven. It was nearly seven o'clock when Frank Johnson and Sally Stover headed the procession, keeping time to the lovely music. After them came the numerous couples who had assembled in the blue and green rooms, and who were to take part in the dance in the east room. A more enchanting scene was never witnessed in the White House. Nellie, Ulysses, and Jesse Grant, the Barneses and McCullochs, the Wallachs, the Blairs, children of the Diplomatic Corps, and many others from the families of officials and citizens made a bright picture, with their gay dresses and pretty faces, while their merry laughter rang out above the strains of delightful music. At the proper time President Johnson, surrounded by fairy queens, led the way to the state dining-room, where the long table, spread with every delicacy, refreshed them after they had danced and promenaded to their hearts' content. The Italian minister, Chevalier Cerruti, although a bachelor, had given a charming children's party previously, he himself crowning Nellie Grant queen of the evening. Thus the little people had that winter two wonderfully pretty parties. The winter was so full of stirring events that it passed quickly, and yet every one was impatient for the 4th of March and the inauguration of General Grant and Schuyler Colfax as President and Vice-President. Mr. Johnson, his family, and cabinet longed to be released from the continual bickerings and warfare between the President and Congress that had reached and passed the pitch of an “impeachment trial” of the President by Congress. The trial only failed  by one vote to result in conviction, but to all intents and purposes convicted the President of bad faith to his party, and placed him in a humiliating position before the nation, causing him and his family to long for the seclusion of his home in Tennessee. General Logan had made an engagement for both himself and me to accompany Colonel Charles L. Wilson, of Chicago, editor of the Journal of that city, to visit the battle-fields of Virginia and the city of Richmond in March, 1868. Colonel Wilson came on, accompanied by his niece Miss Anna Wilson, and the young lady to whom he was engaged, Miss Farrar, of Boston. However, it so happened that there were such important matters before Congress that General Logan could not go. The colonel, however, insisted that I, with my two children, our daughter Dollie and baby son John A. Logan, Jr., should carry out the plan of our visit. We arrived in Richmond on a cold bleak day in March, to find the hotel in a very wretched condition. As it was so soon after the war, we were prepared to find evidences of the rebellion everywhere. The colonel had great difficulty in finding an equipage to drive over the battle-fields around Richmond. He particularly wanted to go to Libby Prison, and to inspect the fortifications that had afforded defence for the capital of the Confederacy for so many long months. I shall never forget the poor horses, the well-worn carriage, and the miserable-looking white man, accompanied by a boy about thirteen years of age, who sat on the box. We had, fortunately, brought lap-robes, cloaks, and warm robes, expecting the weather to be disagreeable. Driving about over the battle-field, we saw the colored people picking up the bullets and pieces of shell which afforded them quite a livelihood immediately after the war. Foundry men had established agencies around all these fortified cities to buy up exploded shrapnel-shells, broken cannon and Minie balls, and every species of old iron that was so abundant on these  battle-fields. Driving about from place to place, we were greatly interested, and realized more than we ever could have, had we not visited the city immediately after the war, the horrors through which the people of the Confederacy had passed. I remember hearing the poor little boy, who was so thinly clad that he had little to protect him from the inclemency of the weather, call out to the driver: “Well, it isn't so miserably hot to-day, is it?” At the same time his teeth were chattering in his head with the cold from which he was suffering. We were not long in finding that we could do without one of the lap-robes, which we insisted that the poor child should wrap around his shivering body. During this trip we visited the churchyards and cemeteries at Richmond, Petersburg, and other points made historic by the struggle which had taken place in and around these cities. In the churchyard near Petersburg we saw hundreds of the graves of Confederate soldiers. These graves had upon them small bleached Confederate flags and faded flowers and wreaths that had been laid upon them by loving hands on the occasion of their Decoration Day. Upon our return General Logan was much interested in our account of what we had seen and I remarked to him that I had never been so touched as I was by seeing the little flags and the withered flowers that had been laid on these graves. At this General Logan said that it was a beautiful revival of the custom of the ancients in thus preserving the memory of the dead, and that he, as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, would issue an order for the decoration of the graves of Union soldiers. Colonel Wilson, heartily approving of the plan, said that he would be glad to exploit it in his paper in Chicago. General Logan sent for General Chipman, then adjutant-general of the Grand Army of the Republic, and dictated Order No. ii, for the first decoration of the graves of Union soldiers that ever took place in the United States, as follows: 
After much discussion and investigation as to the time of the year when flowers would be in their greatest perfection in the different sections of the country, it was decided that May 30 would probably be the most appropriate time when this ceremony should take place. General Logan's anticipations were fully realized by the universal observance of the day in every State in the Union. The exercises were characterized by patriotic addresses, recitations, music, and ceremonious decoration of the soldiers' graves with flowers. Almost all loyal people participated in the observance of the day devoted to the perpetuation of the memory of the heroic dead. May 30, 1868, was a beautiful day. Most extensive preparations had been made for the decoration of the graves of the soldiers buried at Arlington. There were a great many ex-Union soldiers in and around Washington at that time, and they seemed to vie with each other in their efforts to make the occasion a memorable one. The probabilities are that a greater number of ex-Union officers and soldiers took part in the ceremonies than have since participated. Among those occupying seats on the platform during the ceremonies were GeneralGrant and Mrs. Grant, Mr. Dent, Mrs. Grant's father; Secretaries Fish, Rawlins, Borie, Boutwell, and Cox;  Postmaster-General Creswell; Sir Edward Thornton, the British minister; Senators Nye and Warner; Treasurer Spinner; Mayor Bowen; General Sherman; the venerable Amos Kendall; Hon. Mr. Laflin, of New York; Hon. Sidney Clarke, of Kansas; the Swiss consul-general; Mr. John Hitz, Doctor L. Alcan, of Paris, and others. General Logan subsequently succeeded in getting an appropriation for the publication of the reports of the ceremonies of Memorial Day, and also in making the 30th of May a national holiday. Since his death there have been many who have claimed for themselves or their friends the authorship of Decoration Day, but the story I tell here contains the true facts as to the origin of Memorial Day. It was conceived by General Logan, his sympathetic nature being deeply touched by what we had told him that we had witnessed in the cemeteries of Virginia. He said that it was strange that a people who were so loyal to their country as had been the Union soldiers and their friends should not have been the first to inaugurate this beautiful ceremony, and that it must be attributed to the fact that they were so engrossed in taking up their vocations in life that they had not had time to indulge in sentiment. He said it was not too late for the Union men of the nation to follow the example of the people of the South in perpetuating the memory of their friends who had died for the cause which they thought just and right. General Logan had infinite satisfaction in the thought that he was the author of Decoration Day.