History In Ink®  Historical Autographs


John A. Logan

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Nice signature of Union General John “Black Jack” Logan,

who fought at Bull Run, Fort Donelson, Vicksburg, and Atlanta and in Sherman‘s Carolinas Campaign

and prosecuted the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson

John Alexander Logan, 1826–1886.  Union Major General, American Civil War, 1861–1865; United States Representative from Illinois, 1859–1862, 1867–1871; United States Senator from Illinois, 1871–1877, 1879–1886.  Signature, John A. Logan / Ills, on a 2” x 3¾” card. 

Logan, dubbed “Black Jack” because of his black hair and dark eyes, was one of the most capable of the Union’s political generals during the Civil War.  Originally elected to Congress as a Democrat, he resigned to serve in the Union Army.  He became a Republican after the war and returned to the House of Representatives, where he served as one of the House managers in the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, before serving two terms in the Senate.

While still in Congress, Logan fought as an unattached volunteer at the first battle of Bull Run.  He formally entered the Union army as a colonel and organized the 31st Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment.  He served under General Ulysses S. Grant at the Battle of Belmont and the Battle of Fort Donelson, where he was wounded.  He resigned his congressional seat after Fort Donelson and was promoted to Brigadier General of Volunteers.  He commanded a brigade and then a division of the Army of the Tennessee during the siege of Corinth, after which he was promoted to Major General.

Following Grant’s victory at Vicksburg, Logan served as the city’s military governor. He had commanded a division of General James B. McPherson’s XVII Corps, the first Union unit to enter the city after its defeat.  In November 1863, Logan replaced General William T. Sherman in command of the XV Corps.  He assumed temporary command of the Army of the Tennessee upon McPherson’s death during the Battle of Atlanta and later commanded the XV Corps during Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign.

After the war, Logan was a member of the Radical Republicans, who opposed President Andrew Johnson’s conciliatory approach—which would have been President Abraham Lincoln’s approach—to reconstruction.  He also served as the second Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Union veterans’ organization, and was a leader in the effort to establish Memorial Day as a federal holiday.

Logan signed this signature during his second Senate term.  The card is tipped to an album page with a notation saying that the card was received June 1, 1885. 

Logan signed in brown fountain pen.  There is some brushing to the last two letters of “Ills,” likely from Logan’s hand. The card has some foxing in the upper right corner and at the bottom edge.  This does not appear to be from the glue used to tip the card to the album page, since the card is tipped at the ends and there is no glue on the back of the card under the foxing to the left of the word “Ills.”  Overall, the card is in fine condition.


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