previous next

Chapter 42:

Grant and Logan.

the relations of Grant and Logan began almost with the war. Grant tells in his ‘Memoirs’ of his anxiety about Logan's position in the early days of the great struggle. The future General-in-Chief was commanding a regiment which had yet not marched to the front, when he was approached by important people who wished him to allow Logan and McClernand to address his troops. As both these orators had been prominent Democrats, Grant hesitated at first to give the permission; but he found Logan's speech full of fiery patriotism, and Logan's action at this crisis, Grant often declared, had prodigious influence with the people of the southern portion of Illinois. His personal popularity undoubtedly contributed to keep ‘Egypt,’ as the region is called, loyal to the Union. The occasion of Logan's speech was the first meeting between these two men, destined afterward to be so closely associated in politics as well as war.

When I first went to Grant the praises of Logan were constantly on his lips. I had never met the great volunteer general at the time, and Grant never tired of telling me his history. So, too, when I wrote a volume on Grant's early campaigns, I got all my information in regard to Logan, firsthand from Grant. He traced for me Logan's entire career, by his own side at Belmont, Donelson, Corinth, and in the Vicksburg campaign; and always said that Logan and Crocker were the two best generals from civil life that the war produced. [366]

On the death of McPherson, Sherman nominated Howard, the junior of Logan, to the command of the Army of the Tennessee, which Logan was holding temporarily. Grant did not agree with Sherman's estimate of the relative ability of Logan and Howard, but he refused to interfere with Sherman's choice. Logan was bitterly disappointed, yet he remained and served with unflinching zeal under the man who had been his junior, though Hooker at the same time, and for the same cause, requested to be relieved.

This was not the only instance of magnanimity in Logan's career. In December, 1864, when Grant became impatient at what he thought the needless delay of Thomas at Nashville, Logan was directed to take command of the Army of the Cumberland, and started to obey the order. This was the greatest promotion he had yet received and offered that opportunity for separate distinction which every soldier covets; but when he arrived at Louisville, on his way from City Point, he received the news of Thomas's great victory, and instantly telegraphed to Grant, proposing that he should now himself return to his subordinate command. Such greatness of soul always recommended itself to Grant.

But Logan was also capable of intense bitterness, and on one or two occasions his course was very different from what Grant could either indorse or admire. In General Sherman's ‘Memoirs’ he described Logan and Blair as political generals, and assigned that as the reason why he had nominated neither to command the Army of the Tennessee. His language was unfortunate and gave great offense to both those officers. I have no doubt that Sherman himself afterward regretted its use; but once uttered, the mischief could not be undone. Logan was as firm in his enmities as his friendships, and he never forgave Sherman this slur upon his military reputation. In the course of time he became a member of the Senate, and in all military matters his influence was almost controlling. It was his voice [367] which decided that Sherman should be retired from the command of the army at the age of sixty-four, though Sherman's friends, and many, or rather all, who were simply grateful for his transcendent services, strove earnestly for his retention. But Logan prevailed. It was a bitter revenge to set aside so eminent a man, his old commander, in the prime of his powers, and in the face of the world, as punishment for a few hasty words of ill-judged criticism. I talked with Grant more than once on this subject; he differed entirely with Logan, and although he considered Sherman's language injudicious, he was still more earnest in condemning Logan's course.

So, too, Logan was unrelenting in his pursuit of Fitz John Porter. He came nearer quarreling with Grant on this point than at any other stage of their long intimacy. I happened to be in Washington a day or two after Grant's first letter in behalf of Porter was made public, and Logan spoke to me very bitterly on the subject; more harshly indeed than I ever cared to repeat to Grant, though doubtless what was said was meant for repetition. But I did not wish to be the means of creating a rupture, and merely told Grant that Logan felt very sore. Each maintained what he thought the proper course, and after a while Logan's asperity, at least towards Grant, was softened, though he never ceased to condemn Grant's action. But their relations were hardly interrupted, and finally became as warm again as ever. On Grant's side there had never, indeed, been any coolness, nor perhaps is coolness the word for Logan's feeling; it was heat; heat towards Porter, that boiled over even on Grant. There was also a time while Grant was President, when a difference arose between them that threatened to provoke antagonism, but this was no difference of principle, it was personal purely; and when the occasion passed, the temper of each was appeased, and they became better friends than ever.

Grant, indeed, was very grateful to Logan, for his political as well as military services. In the final effort for a ‘third [368] term,’ Logan's action was as important and as steadfast as that of any other man; and Grant never forgot those who stuck by him in this critical emergency.

When he wrote his ‘Memoirs,’ he took unusual pains to say what he thought would gratify Logan; he enlarged the passages that described Logan's excellences, and was determined to paint him in the liveliest colors. His heart was in the tribute that he paid his friend, and all the more because of the shade of difference that had passed across their life. time intimacy. Logan in return was loyal to Grant when business misfortune and calumny came. Grant would have preferred Logan to succeed Hayes, to any other man; and in the last months of his life he often spoke of Logan, always with warmth and admiration and affection.

Logan, like Grant, attempted to write his ‘Memoirs,’ and he, like Grant, was mortified at his political failures; he too was tortured by financial troubles; and he too was cut off before he reached old age. He did not stay long behind after Grant had departed. He had followed his chief in his campaigns of conquest, in his political life, in his literary attempts, and kept step with him at last in that great march from which there is no return.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John A. Logan (36)
U. S. Grant (31)
W. T. Sherman (9)
Fitz John Porter (3)
George H. Thomas (2)
O. O. Howard (2)
McPherson (1)
McClernand (1)
Hooker (1)
Hayes (1)
Crocker (1)
Frank Blair (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December, 1864 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: