JOHN A. LOGAN: POLITICIAN AND SOLDIER
JAMES P. JONES
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
One of the most interesting political and military
figures of the Civil War was General John A. Logan of
Illinois. "Black Jack" Logan, a Democratic congressman
before the war, left that party after Appomattox and from
1866 until his death twenty years later was a leading
Republican. This study traces Logan's change of party and
its effect on his native state.
"John A. Logan, Politician and Soldier," also deals
with Logan as a military commander. Unlike most Union
political soldiers, Logan was a success on the battlefield.
Ulysses S. Grant, James G. Blaine, and Rutherford B. Hayes
called him the ablest non-professional soldier the war
produced, an opinion shared by many.
Biographical material on this colorful and signi-
ficant figure is almost non-existent. The last life of
Logan, written by a close friend, was published in 1887
and leaves a distorted picture of Logan's place in the
events of those critical years. All other biographies,
especially the one by his wife, are equally misleading.
This study was undertaken to present what I hope
will be a clearer view of Logan's career during the Civil
War era. Since he was so much a product of his section of
Illinois I have devoted two chapters to Logan's early life
and his state and local political career. This material
serves as a prologue to Logan's appearance on the national
scene. The bulk of this study traces "Black Jack's" life
from 1859 to 1867 and its place in the events which filled
those crowded years. It is hoped that this narrative will
fill an important Civil War biographical gap.
No writer can hope to "ckn led -e all those who
assisted in the preparation of a manuscript. He can simply
recognize those who have been most helpful. I would like to
acknowledge my particular indebtedness to Dr. William E.
Baringer, my doctoral chairman, for actions far beyond the
call of duty. He has been a constant source of help in a
multitude of '.ays. I should also liko to thank the other
members of my doctoral committee for their assistance.
There are several institutions I must recognize for
their invaluable contributions to this study. The staff of
the Manuscriots Division of the Library of Congress was
especially helpful in making available the extensive Logan
collections. The staff of the Illinois Scate Historical
Library -.as also of great aid in supplying materials. I
would like especially to acknowledge the kind assistance of
Miss .3r- res Flint and Mr. -. 4. Vetherbee of that insti-
tution. Lastly I would like to thank the staff of The
Florida State University's inter-library loan division under
Miss -ic Bird. Tueir indef '.i -ble assistance made the
libraries of the world my research library.
In conclusion I would like to thank my wife Berlin
for her assistance and her inexhaustible patience.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREFACE . . . . . . . . . . ii
I. THE YOUNG EGYPTIAN. . . . . . 1
II. SPRINGFIELD AND MARY. . . . . ... 31
III. DIRTY WORK IN ;A Hl'r.Tf.. . . . ... 72
IV. A PLAGUE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSE . . ..... 132
V. RALLY 'ROUND THE FLAGC . . . . . 176
VI. THE THIRTY-FIRST ITLINOIS . . . . 200
VII. MONOTONY IN MISSISSIPPI, TEDIUM? ITI
TENIIESSEE . . . . . . . . 255
VIII. HE.Il4G THEIR WAY. . . . . . . 286
IX. FORTY ROUND . . . . . . ... 336
X. F-AiKING THE DEVI,. . . . . .. 366
XI. THE YEAR OF JUBILO . . . . ... 427
XII. I VILL i.EVER AFrlLIATE. . . . . 487
BIB.IOGGRAPHY. . . . . . . . . .. 533
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE . . . . . . . . 549
THE YOUNG EGYPTIAN
Illinois is shaped like a giant flint arrowhead.
Its point thrusts deep into the South between the Mississippi
and Ohio Rivers. At its tip, the muddy Mississippi and the
slightly less tumid Ohio, merge in a great confluence.
Here North and South meet, and in the triangle of land at
the arrowhead's point, called "Egypt," the customs and
ideas of North and South were intricately interwoven.
John A. Logan was a product of this sectional intermingling.
Egypt runs from Alton and Vandalia on the north to
Cairo, standing with "one foot in the Mississippi and the
other in the Ohio" one hundred and thirty miles to the
South. The origin of the name "Egypt" is a matter of
debate. The delta-like nature of the area perhaps led
to comparisons with the Nile delta. Here were towns like
Karnak, Thebes and Cairo. There are other theories. One
holds that the region was named "Egypt" by its detractors,
because of its supposed intellectual backwardness. A
more widely accepted theory places the origin of the name
Baker Brownell, The Other Illinois, 3.
R. H. Thornton, An American Glossary, 283.
in the northern Illinois corn famine of 1830-1831. This
famine, caused by the "winter of theedeep snow," created a
food shortage in the northern counties and led countless
settlers South in a search for food, to the counties less
affected by the freeze. The biblical parallel with the
Genesis story of Joseph and his brothers came to mind, and
it became common to say, "'I am going down to Egypt.'" Some
authors discount all of the stories, holding that the actual
origin of the name is lost in the misty past.2
Whatever the origin, the name seems to have been in
common usage long before it entered written records, appar-
ently in the early 1850's.3 During the 1850's and 1860's,
the use of the name became so common that southern Illinois
was almost always referred to as "Egypt" in both the Illinois
and the national press. The name became so widely accepted
that the quotation marks disappeared in print.
Egypt has a long and colorful history. Its first
residents were Indians of the Illinois Confederation. The
first whites were the French who established forts and
missions along the rivers in the seventeenth and eighteenth
History of Morgan County, Illinois, W. F. Short
(ed.), 287; Egyptian Key, II, No. 6 (March, 1947), 31.
Brownell, on. cit., 5.
3Dictionary of American History, J. T. Adams (ed.),
centuries. They in turn were succeeded by the English after
the French and Indian War. Settlement was sparse, however,
until the American Revolution when Egypt's boom began.
American soldiers came first to expel the English and later
as settlers, lured westward by land bounties and the gentle
beauty of the terrain. Fur trappers and pioneers of all
kinds soon pushed into the region between the great rivers.
From the Northern states this human tide flowed down the
Ohio, to be joined by Southerners moving northward from
Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, or later, across the
river from Missouri, always looking for the prosperity the
region seemed to offer. The first four decades of inde-
pendence were years of steady growth in Southern Illinois.
The future of the section seemed limitless; its destiny as
the great exchange point between North and South was evident
In 1824 Dr. John Logan crossed the Mississippi into
this burgeoning land. A native of Ireland, he was brought to
the United States in the first decade of the nineteenth
century by his father, who sought to avoid the troubles of
In 1860 the Illinois Census revealed that the eleven
states that seceded in 1861 had contributed 94,475 natives
to the Illinois population. The three border slave states
of Kentucky, Maryland and Missouri had contributed 83,063.
Many, perhaps a majority of the immigrants settled in Egypt.
Eighth Census of the United States, 1860, 104-105.
his homeland. The family first settled at Ellicott Mills,
Maryland, but John soon joined the westward rush into the
Mississippi Valley, settling in .erry County, Misaouri.
John Logan studied medicine with his father. Although he
en-.r .d in various agricultural, business and political
ventures in the ;est, he never abandoned medical practice.
'hartly after his arrival in Missouri, the young
doctor ua-ried Miss Mary Barcune, the daughter of a prominent
French family of Cape Girardeau County, Missouri. r.hen this
union ended tragically in his wifet's early demise, Dr. Logan
left Missouri, and in 1P24 established his residence on the
Bit; Euddy River at Brownsville, a tiny hamlet serving as the
county seat of Jackson County, Illinois. At Brownsville,
Logan mtt Mi.s Elizabeth Jenkins, daughter of one of the
county's most influential families. Miss Jenkins was born
in North Carolina, and had moved with her family to Fouth
Carolina and Tennessee. Then, following the path of so
many residents of the slave states, her family crossed the
Ohio into Egypt. Her brother, Alexander, later Illinois
llieutenant-governor, was one of !gypt's most prominent
lawyers. Her father, a Jackson County farmer, later held
a colonel's commission in the Black Hawk W'ar.
Anoleton's Cyclonedia, 1086, 504; George W. Emrth,
A History of fonthern Illinois, III, 1148.
George Smith, Southern I inois, III, 1149.
After a brief courtship, Dr. Logan and Miss Jenkins
were married. Soon after the marriage, the doctor took his
bride to a new home a few miles up the Big Muddy from Browns-
ville. Here they settled on a 160 acre farm near the site
of the present town of Murphysboro.1 It was here that their
first child, John Alexander Logan, was born on February 9,
Jack Logan's childhood was not typical of frontier
Illinois. He grew up in the comfortable two story frame
house in which he was born. This relative comfort was made
possible by his father's medical abilities, which gave Dr.
Logan a large practice in Jackson County. This income
was supplemented by that of the Logan farm, one of the
area's finest, in which the doctor took great interest.
He raised corn, fruit, horses, and cattle. One neighbor
later remembered: "The Logan homestead became a very
pleasant place to visit especially in apple and peach time....
The old gentleman [Dr. Logan] was a great lover of horse-
flesh and usually had some good stock."
George F. Dawson, The Life of John A. Logan, 2;
Byron Andrews, A Biography of General John A. Logan, 362;
Frederic L. Paxson, "John Alexander Logan," Dictionary
of American Biography, XI, 363-364.
3James Buel, The Standard Bearers, 304.
Daniel H. Brush, Growing Up in Southern Illinois, 62.
This kind, religious man also took an active part
in local politics as an ardent Democrat and follower of
Andrew Jackson. Young Jack found his home a center for all
the excitement of politics, and the Logan farm was a haven
for Methodist circuit riders invited by the devout doctor.
These dedicated men always stopped and preached at the Logan
house when chasing the devil in the county.
The Logan family enlarged. When Jack was two, a
boy named Thomas was born, to be followed by nine other
children. Jack roamed the quiet forests and streams of
the county. He saw spring made beautiful by the blooms on
his father's fruit trees, and sometimes disrupted by the
rising of the Big Muddy. In the fall he tramped the crimson
forests with his brothers, and accompanied his father when
he hunted the abundant geese and quail of the area.
The boy's life centered on the farm and revolved
around his father and his gracious but firm mother. There
was time, however, for an occasional excursion into Browns-
ville. This town of about 300 souls, with its tan yard,
salt works, and court house, was the metropolis of Jack
Logan's early life. Here he saw the yearly militia
muster, with its heavy drinking and inevitable fights.3
Dawson, op. cit., 3.
George Smith, Southern Illinois, I, 483.
History of Jackson County, Illinois, 22.
Here were held political demonstrations, at one of which
he heard his father speak in his first race for the state
assembly. At the conclusion of the campaign in 1834, the
eight year old grieved to hear that his father had lost to
James Harreld in the contest to succeed Alexander Jenkins
who was running for lieutenant-governor.1 Uncle Alexander's
victory partially compensated for his father's failure, and
the boy thrilled to hear that his uncle would go to Vandalia
to help run the state.
Brownsville also provided Jack's first schooling
away from the farm. His parents taught him as much as they
could. At seven he was sent to town, where classes were
held in the courthouse which served as court, school, and
church. Despite his father's desire that Jack be educated,
work on the farm took its share of the boy's time. This
was especially true after Dr. Logan's successful second
race for the assembly. In 1836 he won and in December
took his seat in Vandalia. This was his second protracted
absence from the farm. In 1832 he had enlisted as a surgeon
in Alexander Jenkins' company in the Black Hawk War, and
spent some time touring the countryside in search of the
George Smith, Southern Illinois, I, 483.
Indians. Jack was then six; by 1836 he was ten and as
the eldest his father's absence gave him increased duties.
Jack began early to assume responsibility, for frequent
absences were not uncommon in a frontier doctor's family.
From Vandalia Dr. Logan wrote Jack and Tom telling them to
take good care of the colts, calves and sheep, and reminding
them to help their mother and help with their sisters.
Despite these duties, Jack Logan had time to sail
his homemade flatboat on the nearby Big Muddy. He learned
to play the fiddle, and became one of the best riders of
the neighborhood. Dan Brush recalled: "John in his early
life became an expert rider and was ever ready to ride a
race. I have witnessed races at the Logan tracks many
times when John, as a boy, was a rider of one of the
horses, and never saw him excelled."3 And there was the
business of the farm. He plowed, felled trees, and when
ordered by his father to run squirrels out of the corn, he
posted a notice on a tree: "'I give notice to all squirrels
to keep out of the cornfield. If they don't keep out they
Illinois Adjutant-General's Office. Record of
the Services of Illinois Soldiers in the Black Hawk War,
1831-32, and in the Mexican War, 1846-8, 36. Hereafter
cited as Illinois Adjutant-General's Report.
Dr. John Logan to John and Tom Logan, December
8, 1836, Dr. John Logan Mos., Illinois State Historical
3Brush, op. cit., 62.
will be shot.'"' When the notice had no effect, Jack
returned with a gun to enforce the edict. Dr. Logan won
reelection in 1838 and 1840 and during the assembly sessions
became one of Egypt's most vocal spokesmen.2
While the doctor, like his contemporaries, felt that
children should work hard on the farm, his interest in their
education did not abate. An educated man himself, he hoped
to provide the best education the region offered. For some
time the best seemed to be that supplied by the string of
teachers in the Brownsville school Jack had attended since
he was seven. This was supplemented by reading and frequent
discussions of political and religious topics at home. At
a young age the boy espoused his father's political ideas,
as is normal, becoming an ardent Jacksonian Democrat.
Dawson, op. cit., 5.
In 1839 Dr. Logan was a member of the general
assembly when a new county was created out of Sangamon
County. The new county was: "Logan County...named by
Abraham Lincoln in honor of his friend, Dr. John Logan,
father of the famous soldier and statesman Gen. John A.
Logan....He was a member of the General Assembly which
passed the bill creating Logan County.... In the Tenth
General Assembly despite the fact that Dr. Logan was a Demo-
crat...he and Abraham Lincoln became close friends. When
Logan County was carved out of Sangamon no name having been
suggested by the settlers inhabiting the new county Mr.
Lincoln suggested the name of his friend Logan. As con-
vincing proof of the origin of the name the following item
appeared in the Sangamo Journal of Springfield, Ill. in its
issue of Feb. 16, 1839, the next day after the passage of
the bill creating Logan County: 'Logan County is named in
honor of Dr. John Logan, the present representative from
Jackson County.'" Lawrence B. Stringer, History of Logan
County, Illinois, I, 149-150.
The time arrived when a more advanced school was
required. In 1842, at sixteen, Jack together with his
brother Tom, was sent to Shiloh Academy at Shiloh Hill in
nearby Randolph County.1 The boys remained there for three
years, studying old subjects such as spelling, grammar and
arithmetic, and receiving their first instruction in Latin.
There was much time for diversion at the Academy,
and Jack seems; to have demonstrated his ability at public
speaking. He was among the best orators in the school,
speaking on such subjects as drunkenness, which he called
a "loathsome leprosy."2
Jack's diligence as a student is a matter of some
debate. Most of his biographers state that he excelled at
his studies and was among the best students in the school.3
One student of Logan's early life, however, states that "it
is doubtful if he [Logan] was a hard student."4 In later
life, Logan frequently referred to his rougish youth. In
a speech at Southern Illinois College in 1869 he said:
iDawson, on00. cit., 6-7; Andrews, op. cit., 367.
Ms. of a speech by John A. Logan, undated, Dr.
John Logan Mss.
Dawson, op. cit., 3; Andrews, ou. cit., 367;
Buel, op. cit., 310.
Joseph Wallace, A ;iography of John A. Logan, 4.
This is an unpublished biography of General Logan in the
Illinois State Historical Society Library, Springfield.
"I well remember in my boyhood days when the same number
of men and boys at my college in this country would have
been a terror to all hen coops, melon patches, apple and
peach orchards...without a picket fence, shot gun, and bull
For three years this combined learning and fun con-
tinued. In 1845 Dr. Logan decided to bring the boys home
to be educated with the rest of his expanding family. To
provide instruction, a private tutor, a frontier rarity,
was hired to teach the Logan children. The return of the
boys also put them back to work on the farm, home-grown
hired help made necessary by their father's expanding medical
These years, when the boys were at Shiloh, were
eventful ones for Jackson County. They returned from school
in 1843 to view the burned ruins of the Brownsville court-
house and see the twenty acre tract of land their father
donated to the county for its new courthouse.3 The transfer
of the county seat aroused considerable opposition. Dan
Brush, the most vocal Jackson County Whig, fought the move,
Ms. of a speech given by John A. Logan at Southern
Illinois College, June 25, 1869, J. A. Logan Mss., Library
Dawson, op. cit., 3.
3History of Jackson County, 17.
and called Dr. Logan a "bigoted incompetent."l On election
day, voters listened to speakers from both sides and voted
to accept Dr. Logan's offer and move the county seat. For
a time the new town was called Shieldsboro, but it was soon
changed to Murphysboro after a local politician." The new
courthouse quickly became the center of a cluster of buildings
which replaced Brownsville as the center of the county. One
of the new structures was a hotel built by Dr. Logan, who
seems to have profited by the change of county seat.3
Misfortune struck in 1844. One of the greatest
inundations in this land of annual floods hissed and swirled
up the Big Muddy partially covering the Logan farm.4 Further
disappointment was caused by Dr. Logan's defeat in his
attempt to regain the seat in the assembly he had given up
in 1842. The incumbent, R. A. Bradley, defeated him in a
The boys began to take a more active part in the
family's business while continuing their education. In
Brush, op. cit., 132.
History of Jackson County, 17.
3Apoleton's Cyclopedia, 1886, 504; Brush, op. cit.,
History of Jackson County, 19.
5T. C. Pease (ed.), Illinois Election Returns,
1846, Jack, twenty, was entrusted with family business in
St. Louis, paying a $120 debt his father owed in that city.
But 1846 was a war year, and Jack thrilled to its
exciting events. The Mexican crisis which smoldered through
early 1846 burst into flame in May and war was declared.
The Democrats of the Mississippi Valley vigorously supported
President Polk's war policy, and young Egyptian., were urged
to enlist to vindicate "the honor and rights of your country,
and to repel from your soil a foreign foe."2
There were also thrilling events of a family nature.
The county election of 1846 swept Dr. Logan, a zealous war
Democrat, back into office and he returned to the assembly
as one of his section's leading spokesmen.
Jack, who now preferred to be called John, wanted
to join the rush to Mexico. His parents persuaded him to
remain at home until the doctor's campaign was over.
After his father's victory, John had to postpone his enlist-
ment until Dr. Logan returned from Springfield. Finally,
in the spring of 1847, John heard that a Jackson County
company was being formed. The slight but wiry John Logan,
who was so slender that he appeared consumptive to some,
1Dr. Logan to Mrs. Elizabeth Logan, December 10,
1846, Dr. Logan Mss.
Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review, May 30,
enlisted. James Hampton was elected Captain of the
company, and Logan and James Provost, a Jonesboro merchant,
were the candidates for lieutenant. Logan coveted the rank
and challenged his rival to a foot race, card game or fist
fight for the lieutenancy. The struggle was settled when
Provost was elected First Lieutenant and Logan, Second
In May the company was ordered to march to the
rendezvous point at Alton to meet other companies of the
new regiment. Drums rolled, flags waved, tears and cheers
mingled with patriotic oratory as the recruits marched out
of Murphysboro. John was given stern orders by his father
to bear himself well, guard his health, and deport himself
like a God-fearing Christian. While his mother grieved,
his brothers and sisters proudly pointed to their officer
brother and boasted of what he would do to the Mexicans.
At Alton, Logan became a soldier. His enlistment
dated from May 9, when the Jackson County men, henceforth
Company H, were mustered into service. Ten days later,
on June 8, the entire regiment was mustered in and became
Buel, op. cit., 310.
2May Strong Hawkins, "The Early Political Career
of John A. Logan," 7, unpublished master's thesis, Univer-
sity of Chicago. This story was told to Miss Hawkins in
1934 by A. S. Tibbetts, editor of the Jonesboro Gazette;
Illinois Adjutant-General's Report. 222.
the First Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, commanded by
Colonel Edward W. B. Newby.
The men settled down to army life with its drills,
routine, and occasional illnesses caused by oppressive June
heat and change of food and water. As a second lieutenant,
John, who drew $65 a month, had his first command experience
at Alton and aided in preparing the 68 men of the company
for the trials ahead.3
Here he met young officers of other companies,
many of them from Egypt. There was First Lieutenant Isham
N. Haynie of Company C, and jovial Captain John M. Cun-
ningham, former sheriff of Williamson County, who led
Company B. Captain Cunningham found in Logan a kindred
spirit, full of fun, genial and adventurous. A cordial
relationship sprang up between Logan and the older man,
Illinois Adjutant-General's Report, 224. "The
Fifth Regiment which is officially known as the First
Regiment, Illinois Volunteers 'during the war' (the other
regiments having enlisted for twelve months), was called
out, under the requisition made by the Secretary of War
April 19, 1847, for six thousand more volunteers to serve
'during the war,' to take the place of those whose term
of enlistment was to expire. Of this call, but one regi-
ment was assigned to the State of Illinois, which was
organized June 8, 1847, at Alton, Illinois, by the election
of Colonel E. W. B. Newby as Colonel, Illinois Adjutant-
General's Report, xxx.
Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review, July 18,
4Illinois Adjutant-General's Reoort, 208.
a friendship that grew during their war service. Of
course, there were always old friends like Lindorf Ozburn
and William Hampton, sergeant and corporal respectively in
Logan's Company H.
On June 14, the anxiously awaited marching orders
arrived, and the regiment boarded steamers for Fort Leaven-
worth. They sailed up the Missouri to the fort, where they
disembarked to prepare for their march across the Great
Plains to New Mexico. At Leavenworth the novelty of the
Missouri River voyage ended and the old routine of camp
life caught them again. The monotony was too much for
some, and Private Tilman Sipe deserted. Six other members
of the Company ended their brief army service at Leaven-
worth. Three died and three were discharged and returned
to Illinois, to the envy of many of their comrades.
Logan's friend "Doff" Ozburn indicated some of the
difficulty when, in the silence of a summer night, he told
the Captain takes but little responsibility upon
himself which makes the other boys from the different
counties so hopeless in trying to do anything or make
any kind of a show, but I hope the day is not far
distant when John will be Captain of the company for
Mary 3. C. Logan, Reminiscences of a Soldier's Wife,
27. Hereafter cited as Reminiscences.
Illinois Adjutant-General's Reoort, 224.
he justly deserves the station. If John Logan was
out of the company I would pray to be at home but he
is the same John here that he is at home, he has
nothing but if I kneed [sic] it I get a share and
that without a murmer [sic].1
The prospect of a movement brightened spirits,
and the order to move out on July 7 was greeted with a
cheer. The regiment had been ordered to Santa Fe to occupy
that northernmost Mexican outpost, and to stand ready to
march South if needed as reinforcements. Their route lay
across the desolate expanse of the southern Great Plains.
For a time the line of march ran through beautiful prairie.
But after the Kansas River was left behind on July 10, the
country became a desolate, burned wasteland. John did what
he could to maintain order and keep spirits high, but the
monotonous scenery and the extreme summer heat brought
grumbling from men longing for the cool banks of the Ohio
and Mississippi. To some the novelty of this new land
wore off quickly. The prairie "for the first few days
had a most grand appearance, but the only one scene for
27 days gave me a disgust to a Prairie Country."2
There were variations, however, and John marveled
at the large herds of buffalo and ate buffalo meat and the
Lindorf Ozburn to Diza Ozburn, July 4, 1847,
Ozburn Mss., Illinois State Historical Library, Springfield.
Lindorf Ozburn to Diza Osburn, July 10, 1847,
wild plums he found along the banks of the Arkansas. There
was always a rush for any creek or spring along the line
of march and a majestic prairie thunderstorm was exciting
to the dusty marchers. In the midst of one of these storms,
the camp was startled to hear the sentinels' challenge
mingle with the storm's roar. John rose with the others
to discover a party of mounted men, led by Kit Carson,
bound for California, approaching their camp.
By August, John sweltered in the heat as the column
crossed the Cimarron and approached the edge of the Staked
Plains. They kept close watch for hostile Pawnees and
Comanches, whose territory they had entered, and on August
3, an excited trooper reported approaching Indians. The
regiment prepared for action, but the Indians proved to be
a large herd of antelope.2 On August 8, the column met
some teamsters returning from Santa Fe, who reported that
all .'as quiet in that city.
August was a trying month for the volunteers. Water
was scarce as many streams proved to be alkali beds. There
were also food shortages and constant fear of Indian attack.
But the heat was their greatest enemy. The sun rose early,
baked them all day, and set late, followed by chilling nights.3
Benjamin Wiley Diary, July 25, 1847, Wiley Diary
Mss., Illinois State Historical Library, Springfield.
Ibid., Aug. 3, 1847.
Ilary Logan, Reminiscences, 28.
As the men neared Santa Fe their situation improved.
In early September the extreme heat lessened and the hard
plains gave way to the streams and valleys of northern New
Mexico. At last on September 7, the regiment sighted Las
Vegas, the first town of any size they had seen in more than
a month, and they wearily marched into the mud hut village.1
Santa Fe was merely a resumption of the drudgery
of Alton and Leavenworth. For men who had struggled through
the hardships of the long march, a return to camp routine
with no prospect of action seemed dull indeed. Sergeant
Ozburn voiced the general feeling. "I am in hopes we will
not walk so far as we did, come home and say we have done
nothing...."2 Despite their wishes, Santa Fe seemed far
from the clash of arms they had expected. "All was quiet...
[There was] not a whisper of insurrection or the slightest
promise of a brush. That portion of Mexico seems to have
resigned itself to the rule of los Americanos."3
In October, reinforcements were needed to the south,
and Colonel Newby, leaving Lieutenant Colonel H. P. Boyakins
in command at Santa Fe, took half his force and began the
march to El Paso. Company H was one of the five companies
iWiley Diary, Sept. 7, 1847.
Lindorf Ozburn to Diza Ozburn, Oct. 20, 1847.
3Illinois State Register (Springfield), March 7,
left in Santa Fe, and John said good-bye to his friend
Captain Cunningham. John and the captain had complained
of their failure to come to grips with the Mexicans, and
at the older man's departure, John, though disappointed at
not being able to accompany him, congratulated Cunningham
and wished him the opportunity that had eluded them.1
After their comrades' departure, the rest settled
down to garrison duty with the bleak prospect of boredom and
disease until a peace treaty was signed. John had increased
duties to ea.se dull routine. He was named adjutant of the
post at Santa Fe at an extra ten dollars a month. The extra
duty came as recognition of the young lieutenant's popu-
larity and ability.2
John also busied himself by studying Spanish, a
language which seems to have lingered with him for the rest
of his life. In late October he was given a chance to
return to Illinois as recruiting officer to enlist enough
men to supply the Santa Fe garrison with replacements for
men lost to disease. John refused, much to "Doff" Ozburn's
dismay, since the sergeant hoped to accompany his friend
Mary Logan, Reminiscences, 28.
Ms. muster roll for Company 1H, Oct., 1847, Ozburn
Dawson, op. cit., 3.
back to Egypt. Ozburn did not know the reason for Logan's
refusal but stated, "I suppose he wished to win laurels
on the field of battle."' John's letters of this period
indicate that the sergeant was correct. On November 5
John wrote his father that the prospect for a fight was
disappointingly remote. He told his father of the sickness
sweeping the troops in Santa Fe, but assured Dr. Logan
that he was healthy.
This condition was short-lived, and John Logan's
major battle of the Mexican dar was fought against disease.
During the winter of 1847-1848, the garrison suffered heavily
from measles and resulting complications. John contracted
the illness, which killed nine of his comrades in Company H.4
Because of distance and slow communication, John's family
knew little of his serious condition. It was not until
spring that Dr. Logan received a clear picture of John's
illness and recovery.5 When the doctor discovered how
Lindorf Ozburn to Diza Ozburn, Oct. 20, 1847,
John A. Logan (Hereafter cited as JAL) to Dr. Logan,
Nov. 5, 1847, Logan Mss., Library of Congress.
Illinois State Register, Jan. 21, 1848.
Illinois Adjutant-General's Report, 222.
5Joel Manning to Dr. Logan, Aug. 15, 1848, Dr.
serious his son's illness had been, he wrote Lindorf Ozburn,
"You will pleas [sic] accept my hearty and devout thanks
for your kind care and attention on my son John in his
illness as I am sure from the tenor of his letter that he
must have died had he not had the best kind of attention."I
Spring brought recovery to John, and increased hopes
for an end to the war. In February, 1848, Nicholas Trist
completed negotiations with the Mexicans and the Illinois
soldiers in Santa Fe rejoiced at the thought of going home.
Murphysboro friends and relatives sent a stream of letters
to John on the prospect of his return. A friend supplied
news of local political affairs, and John's sister Dorothy
urged him to hurry home for her wedding.2 Dr. Logan, his
most prolific correspondent, gave John a complete account
of the Trist negotiations, adding that Senate ratification
of the Treaty would be immediate.3
With the expected ratification of the Treaty of
Guadalupe Hidalgo, the Illinois troops began to prepare
for the march home. Their return was delayed until the
United States could provide adequate administrative
Dr. Logan to Lindorf Ozburn, March 26, 1848,
B. Keith to JAL, April 22, 1848; Dorothy Logan
to JAL, May 3, 1848, Logan Mss.
Dr. Logan to JAL, March 7, 1848, Logan Mss.
replacement. In July the Santa Fe occupation force
mustered in the city for the last time. The order to march
moved down the line and the gaping villagers watched the
Illinois Americanos terminate their nine months occupation
of the ancient city.
The men again faced a summer march. Dr. Logan,
speaking as a veteran of the Black Hawk War, sent John
advice on the return trip. The doctor cautioned him to
stay with the others all the way to Alton and warned:
"there will be great danger in travelling throo [sic] the
Indian country as the Indians are always [sic] more hostile
on the close of a war between us and any other Nation than
they are at any other timee.1
The return march was less eventful than the one to
New Mexico. Heat, thirst, and Indian danger were still
present, but the prospect of the triumphant homecoming in
Illinois made their steps lighter and the discomforts less
John Logan had mixed feelings on his return. His
happiness at seeing friends and family was obvious, but
his failure to win glory in battle was disappointing. In
September, the men reached Fort Leavenworth where they
Dr. Logan to JAL, April 16, 184, Logan Mss.
boarded transports, and in early October they arrived at
Alton. Here they were greeted as heroes who had given
"evidences of heroism and patience." From October 15 to
October 18 they were mustered out of the service. There
was another tumultuous reception at Murphysboro where the
bronzed veteran was proudly welcomed by his family.
John returned from Mexico 22 years old and undecided
as to his future. His father wanted him to study medicine,
but John was more interested in his father's avocation,
politics. With the support of father and uncle, both
influential in Jackson County politics, John had a good
chance for minor elective office. In 1849, the year after
his return, after a brief period reading law in his uncle's
office, John entered his first political contest and was
easily elected clerk of Jackson County. This office, how-
ever, was temporary, for John felt that a successful career
in politics demanded further knowledge of law. Law could
provide him with a living between sessions of the assembly
or between defeats. His service as clerk, therefore, was
a method of obtaining money to finance a law degree. By
Illinois State Register, Oct. 20, 1848.
Mary Logan, Reminiscences, 98.
3Thomas V. Knox, The Lives of James G. Blaine
and John A. Logan, 269.
1850 he had accumulated sufficient money of his own, with
some aid from his father, to make it possible for him to
resign and enter law school.
Among frontier law schools, Louisville University's
was one of the best, and John crossed the Ohio in 1850 to
be-in his studies. Instruction at Louisville was adequate
for a frontier barrister. There were recitation exami-
nations and oral lectures, and a moot court twice a week
to give the students practice in courtroom procedure.1
Board and lodging in Louisville were reasonable, but John
was forced to call on his father from time to time for
financial aid. In thanking the doctor for five dollars,
John predicted that the favor would, "receive a ten fold
benefit" when he graduated.2 John studied hard and became
an able student, especially at courtroom oratory. In
February, 1851 he received his diploma and started home,
telling his father, "You can tell all who are anxious for
my attendance at our court that I am certain to be there
if life lasts and money holds out."3
John returned in time for the spring elections
and offered himself as candidate for prosecuting attorney
Illinois State Register, Aug. 25, 1848.
JAL to Dr. Logan, Jan. 6, 1851, Logan Mss.
of the Third Judicial District. Prominent in the press
were statements by friendly journalists proclaiming Logan's
graduation from law school and assuring their readers that
the young man would be an "ornament" to his profession.1
His race was successful and in the summer, at 26, he began
his legal career. In order to function more successfully
as prosecutor, John temporarily moved to Benton in Franklin
County. This spring was made even happier for John when
his old friend "Doff" Ozburn named his second child John
Logan's term as prosecuting attorney was brief.
After a few months he resigned to run as representative
in the Eighteenth General Assembly from Jackson and Franklin
Counties, a position his father had held four times.
This campaign was John's first real test in his
chosen profession. His political ambitions were boundless.
He told his father, "Politics is a trade and if my few
fast friends in Jackson will stand by me, the day is not
far distant when I can help myself and them to pay ten
Cairo Sun, May 29, 1851.
Thomas M. Eddy, The Patriotism of Illinois, 483.
3George Smith, Southern Illinois, II, 611.
JAL to Dr. Logan, Aug. 31, 1852, Logan Mss.
On the stump in 1852, John Logan, known personally
to many of the voters in the two counties, gave evidence
of the qualities necessary for success in Egyptian politics.
He was a vigorous man, about medium height, weighing about
140 pounds. John's appearance led to countless romantic
stories. He had bright eyes, swarthy complexion and straight
hair, features that led many to claim for him Indian ances-
try. This assertion was unfounded, but it persisted through-
out his career.
John was popular among the younger voters because
of his fun-loving nature. He joined in the horse-play of
militia day and playfully wrestled with town children.
Daniel Gill remembered that as a twelve year old he was
playing marbles with John's little brother William when
Logan strolled by and kicked the marbles out of the ring.
"Immediately the players jumped up and knocked the hat from
the head of John A. Logan. A regular sham-battle ensued
between John A. and the players." Some of the more strait-
laced members of the community opposed this behavior, but
H. E. Kimmel, "Sixty-sixth Wedding Anniversary of
Daniel Gill and Lucinda Pyle Gill, Du Quoin, Illinois,"
Journal, Illinois State Historical Society, XVII, No. 3
(Sept., 1924), 442.
Andrews, op. cit., 369; Mary Logan, Reminiscences,
Kimmel, op. cit., 441.
Egypt was a boisterous section and John's reputation as
a rollicking spirit aided in public life.
Without abilities in other directions, however,
John's career might have been short-lived. He was an able
speaker. Beginning with the days at Shiloh Academy, John
had many opportunities to develop an oratorical style.
His voice was sonorous and audible even to the last ranks
of a large crowd, so powerful, in fact, that he was able to
shout down hecklers, a quality necessary in the rough-and-
tumble of Egyptian politics.1
He was also blessed with a ready made organization
built by his Uncle Alexander and Dr. Logan. However, his
father's health was poor and John had to do much of the
organizing. He formed political meetings in his own behalf
and for W. A. Denning, candidate for the Democratic nomi-
nation to Congress.2 Denning, a veteran campaigner, supported
John, and John and his father backed Denning. Denning
wrote the doctor:
If Allen [Willis Allen, Denning's opponent] is
nominated his friends have already threatened
political death to me and my friends and among
others your own son....I hope, and pray Doct. that
you will try and get the leading Democrats together...
and send up some man who can be relied on in any
and every emergency.3
Kary Logan, Reminiscences, 98.
JAL to Dr. Logan, Aug. 31, 1852, Logan Mss.
". A. Denning to Dr. Logan, Sept. 1, 1852, Logan
John, who was still on the circuit as prosecuting attorney,
also urged his father to send a delegate to the district
convention, who "will do as we want him to.... I can't be
a delegate, my position will not allow it."l
Denning failed to get the nomination, but this did
not materially affect John's campaign. He ran as a "Jack-
sonian Democrat," adopting positions popular in southern
Illinois. He was bitterly anti-Negro, and promised to
fight for a bill excluding free negroes from Illinois.
He also spoke in favor of rigid enforcement of the Fugitive
Slave Act. But like his idol Jackson, Logan and the Egypt-
ian Democrats who supported him were supporters of the
union and not devoted to the extremes of Southern states
rights doctrines. Furthermore, he took the usual Egyptian
position on the railroad issue, opposing "State policy"
in favor of a railroad policy that would benefit St. Louis,
the city toward which most of the southern Illinois tri-
Logan indicated his support of the Compromise of
1850, if the Fugitive Slave Act was enforced, and spoke
for Stephen A. Douglas, an old friend of Dr. Logan's and
the new hero of Illinois Democrats who was running for the
JAL to Dr. Logan, Aug. 31, 1852, Logan Mss.
Andrews, op. cit., 369.
Senate. John promised to vote for the "Little Giant" if
he was elected to the Assembly. Logan's platform was popu-
lar; he was popular; and his organization was effective.
On election day the Democratic voters of Jackson and Frank-
lin gave him a large majority.1
Thus at 26 John A. Logan's political career took
a giant step forward. Soon his fame would spread beyond
the boundaries of Egypt and the "ten fold" benefits he had
promised his father would come to pass.
George Smith, Southern Illinois, III, ll9.
SPRINGFIELD AND MARY
Springfield in the winter of 1853 presented a
dreary appearance to those arriving in the town that had
been the capital of Illinois since 1839. The town was
famous for wretched streets made almost impassable by
heavy rain and snow, and for its primitive accommodations.
Despite its appearance, Springfield was charged with an
air of expectancy. Every other year brought a session of
the Illinois general assembly, and legislators had begun
arriving from far and near. They came from Chicago, the
growing metropolis of the state, from the abolitionist
counties along the Wisconsin border, from the expanding
central section, from the German towns opposite St. Louis,
and from the Egyptian counties of the southern Illinois
The 18th general assembly convened January 3 when
the legislators were sworn in by Associate Justice Lyman
Trumbull. The major business of the opening day was
election of a speaker. The Whigs had been shattered in
the election of 1852, and this assembly was heavily Demo-
cratic. There were 59 Democrats, 16 Whigs and one Free
Arthur C. Cole, Era of the Civil War, 6.
Soiler. This made organization simple. John Reynolds,
St. Clair County Democrat, and former governor, was elected
by acclamation, many feeling that the office was due him
because of his long service to the party.
Two days later the assembly met in joint session
to elect a senator. There was never any doubt as to the
outcome of the contest. Stephen A. Douglas, who had won
control of Illinois Democrats, had been in the Senate since
1846, and expected no difficulty in his fight for re-
election. The Democrats caucused, and nominated the
Little Giant by acclamation.
Logan was an enthusiastic Douglas supporter as his
father had been before him. He voted for Douglas as the
senator won 75-19 over Joseph Gillespie. When committee
assignments were made Logan drew two important seats,
judiciary committee, and committee on banks and corporations.
The latter was a coveted assignment since many incorpora-
tion bills, including the important railroad acts, were
handled by this group. Logan's record in the House was
closely watched in Egypt, and John's law partner, W. K.
Parish, wrote: "I am glad to see that you are on the
1Newton Bateman and Paul Selby, Historical Ency-
clopedia of Illinois, II, 189.
W. A. Denning to JAL, Jan. 16, 1853, Logan Mss.
George Fort Milton, The Eve of Conflict; Stephen A.
Douglas and the Needless War. 95.
judiciary committee. That will give you additional standing
and particularly as a lawyer."l
The House got down to work January 6. Logan intro-
duced the bill that became the center of the most acri-
monious debate of the session. As a fellow Democrat stated:
"He had scarcely warmed his seat when he opened upon some
of the exciting topics of the day."2 Logan's proposal was
to instruct the judiciary committee to report a bill to
prevent the immigration of free negroes into Illinois
"under the article of the Constitution requiring the legis-
lature to pass such a law."3
The anti-slave forces from northern Illinois imme-
diately called for a vote to table the bill, and lost 54
to 14. The bill went to committee, where Logan would have
a hand in its construction. The opposition to the measure
had little hope of pushing the bill aside, but the vote
on the sixth served as a forecast of what might happen
when the bill reached the floor in final form.
The stir caused by Logan's exclusion bill quickly
subsided and both sides prepared for the final battle.
W. K. Parish to JAL, Jan. 16, 1853, Logan Mss.
Usher F. Linder, Reminiscences of the Early Bench
and Bar of Illinois, 343.
Journal Illinois House of Renresentatives, Eight-
eenth General Assembly, 1853, 3. Hereafter cited as House
Meanwhile the business of the body continued with a multi-
tude of private bills filling the agenda. John introduced
a bill for the relief of John Elmore, former sheriff of
Jackson County, which passed on January 18. On January 11,
Logan proposed an act for the relief of John M. Cunningham
which passed by a unanimous vote three days later. This
measure provided for a one hundred dollar payment to Logan's
old friend as reimbursement for his services as marshal of
the district court of Massac County. It afforded the young
legislator great pleasure to be able to help his old com-
rade who had come upon hard times.
There was more important business before the House,
however, and Logan was active in deliberations concerning
much of it. There were proposals in favor of adopting a
statewide prohibition act modeled on the famous "Maine
Law," the pioneer "dry" statute of that state. Logan, and
most of the members from Egypt where "the use of intoxicating
drinks seems more natural than the use of water," opposed
the proposal, and in the debates on the law he introduced
several petitions from citizens urging the legislature to
vote against the bill. Because of his great interest in
Illinois Private Laws, 1853, 494; House Journal,
House Journal, 1853, 278, 323; Cairo Times and
Delta, Feb. 3, 1858.
this measure, Logan was named to a special committee to
investigate the law as it had been applied in Maine.
Opposition to prohibition and its supporters was so strong
that a proposal to permit a temperance convention to use
the hall of the House was voted down, Logan voting with the
All attempts to push through a law of this kind
failed when opposition forces, led by the Egyptian members,
tabled every "dry" motion. The last victory for the anti-
prohibition men came on January 29 when Logan and 33 others
voted successfully to table a proposed statewide "dry" law.
Logan's position on the "Maine Law" was in line with public
opinion in his constituency. W. A. Denning, one of his
constant sources of information, wrote John that all Egypt
was interested in the debates and generally opposed the
Much of the business of the House concerned in-
corporation of railroad and plank road companies. John
voted to incorporate eight plank roads and personally intro-
duced bills chartering plank roads into Murphysboro and
Benton. Railroads were more important, however, and John
House Journal, 1853, 21.
.1. A. Denning to JAL, Jan. 16, 1853, Logan Mss.
House Journal, 1853, 87, 144, 346.
voted in the affirmative 15 times on laws chartering new
roads. Most of these bills passed unanimously, but the bill
to charter a Terre Haute and Vandalia Railroad Company
brought a bitter debate, with Logan and the other repre-
sentatives from Lower Egypt in opposition.
This fight was a renewal of the struggle between
"State policy" and the more liberal railroad plan advocated
in Lower Egypt. The "State policy" forces wanted a cross-
state road in southern Illinois, but they opposed building
a road that would benefit any out of state terminus; con-
sequently they favored constructing a road with Alton as
western terminus. The Terre Haute and Vandalia was to be
a link in that system.
The opposition to "State policy" centered in the
section of the State that looked to St. Louis as an eco-
nomic center. These representatives had been fighting a
losing battle against the "State" forces through the 1840's,
and though their strength seemed to have increased by 1853,
they were unable to charter a road with St. Louis as termi-
nus, or to vote down the Terre Haute and Vandalia bill.1
Logan voted with the losing bloc.
During the session Logan was pleased to discover
that his activities were not being overlooked and that
Cole, op. cLt., 33, 43; House Journal, 1853, 307.
they seemed to be generally popular in his home district.
Denning and W. K. Parish kept him in touch with reactions
in Jackson and Franklin Counties, and Parish told him, "I
have no fears but what we will be able to exert an influence
in the political arena in Egypt sufficient for all practical
purposes." He further endorsed John's decision to remain in
Benton after his return. "Benton will be a town of con-
siderable size in Egypt which will render it a pleasant
residing place," he wrote. "It is central in the political
The Benton newspaper took notice of Logan's record
in the House, calling him "our worthy and talented young
representative...who has demonstrated to the North by his
talent and eloquence...that we, in the South have interests
to foster, guide and protect, and that we have men who are
willing and able to do it."2 Even in neighboring Missouri
Logan came in for praise, and the Springfield correspondent
for a St. Louis paper wrote, "Among all the members of this
House, John A. Logan of Jackson County and W. H. Snyder of
St. Clair have no superiors, and they are the youngest men
in that body....Their speeches are not mere declamations,
W. K. Parish to JAL, Jan. 16, 1853, Logan Mss.
Benton Standard, quoted in Quincy Herald, March 24,
but they abound with bold and lofty thought and profound
arguments." 1 These "profound arguments" of course favored
railroad policy that would benefit St. Louis.
The law of greatest interest to southern Illinois
in 1853 was the negro exclusion bill which emerged as the
session's last major business. Egyptians greeted Logan's
action with a show of solid support. They viewed the
spectre of wholesale negro immigration into Egypt as a
great calamity, and to be avoided at all costs. Parish
wrote Logan, "The move...in relation to the immigration of
free negroes into the state is one that will reflect credit
and distinction in Egypt especially."2
In taking the lead in transferring this feeling,
almost unanimous in Egypt, into legislative action, Logan
became for the first time recognized throughout the state
as the spokesman of Egypt. His statements in debate came to
be regarded as those of the entire section. The negro bill
first skyrocketed Logan into state-wide prominence, won
him immense popularity in his home section, but brought
condemnation from many quarters.
Anti-negro feeling had grown in Illinois in the
140's. The Constitution of 1848 denied negroes the vote,
St. Louis Republic, Feb. 21, 1853.
Dwight N. Harris, The Negro in Illinois, 234;
W. K. Parish to JAL, Jan. 16, 1853, Logan Mss.
and the right to serve in the militia. Furthermore, there
was a provision instructing the legislature to pass laws
prohibiting the entrance of negroes into the state. This
provision was separately submitted to Illinois voters for
ratification and passed by 50,261 to 21,297. Until 1853
the provision was ignored. But in 1353 Logan took advantage
of the invitation contained in the 1848 law and moved to
end negro immigration.
There were few negroes in the state, the 1850
Census listed only 5,436, but of this number 3,124 lived
in counties included in the Egyptian triangle. These un-
fortunates existed in pitiful conditions, on suffrance of
the people of the state with no legal status whatsoever.
In the 1850's northern Illinois abolitionists began to
demand increased rights for these negroes. Egyptians
reacted to abolitionist pressure by demanding a counter-
attack that would make a negro deluge on their section
impossible. Logan's bill was a response to this clamor
from his constituents.3
Once Logan's bill was introduced and sent to com-
mittee on January 6, the negro problem remained beneath
Cole, op. cit., 225.
Cole, op. cit., 225; Eighth Census of the U.S.,
Harris, op. cit., 227.
the surface until the final bill emerged, except for an
incident of January 20. On that date A. H. Nixon of McHenry
County introduced an act aimed at permitting negroes to
testify in court. Once again the anti-negro forces were
triumphant as the bill was tabled 44 to 16.1
By late January, all interest in Springfield
centered on the negro bill. On Saturday, January 29, Logan
reported the bill out of committee. The stage was set and
the debate was scheduled for the middle of the following
week. On February 2 the speaker announced the bill as the
next order of business and heated debate began.
Opposition to Logan's bill came from the repre-
sentatives from the counties along the northern border, com-
bined with a scattering of support from the legislators
from north central Illinois. On the first day of debate,
the northern men introduced an amendment that would have
repealed all of Illinois' "Black Codes." This proposal
was beaten 58 to 7.2 During debate on the amendment, Logan
attacked its backers as "abolitionists," and charged that
repeal would lead to intermarriage and social and political
House Journal, 1853, 145.
3Ms. of speech delivered in the Illinois legis-
lature in 1853, Logan Mss.
Following this exchange, Logan's bill reached the
floor for adoption. This controversial law made the intro-
duction of a negro into the state a crime punishable by a
$100 fine. Furthermore it made any negro entering the state
liable within ten days to arrest and fine, and if unable to
pay the fine, he was forced to work out the fine and trial
The measure was attacked vigorously by its opponents
and Logan was forced to speak out in its defense. Summoning
all the arguments Egyptians had been advancing for a decade,
Logan began by attacking his adversaries as supporters of
racial equality. He stated that history illustrated that
negroes are "not suited to be placed upon a level with the
white men." Reaching the heart of his argument, he stated
that Egypt, surrounded by slave states, would be the only
area of the state harmed by mass migration of negroes. He
proclaimed the fear held by his constituents that negroes
would migrate into Egypt, become paupers, and ruin the
morals of the section. In conclusion Logan lashed out
at the pro-negro legislators:
Nor can I understand how it is that men
can become so fanatical in their notions as to
Harris, op. cit., 236.
Ms. of speech delivered in the Illinois legis-
lature in 1853, Logan Mss.
forget that they are white. Forget the sympathy
over the white man and have his bosom heaving with
it for those persons of color. It has almost become
an offense to be a white man. Unfortunate were these
gentlemen in their birth that they could not have been
usher d into existence with black skin and a wooly
Logan's final roar was a threat. "Unless this bill shall
pass you will hear it again next session and again until
something shall be done to protect those people [in Egypt]
from the innundation from the colored population."2
Soon after Logan's ringing defense died away, roll
call began. It was evident that the bill's opponents had
gained some strength over their showing on the earlier test
votes. Logan's speech had alarmed some members of his own
party from northern Illinois who felt that the bill was too
harsh. This group wras not large enough to create a coalition
capable of defeating the measure, and when the vote was
tallied the bill passed 45 to 23. Voting "aye" was a solid
bloc of representatives from the counties south of ring-
field. Even the St. Clair representatives, whose German
constituents were an island of liberal thought in the sea
of Egyptian racism, voted for the measure.3 Just before
adjournment on the 5th, Nixon condemned the act and
House Journal, 1853, 442-443.
cynically proposed that the title of the bill be changed
to, "An act to create an additional number of abolitionists
in this state." The proposal was voted down, the House
adjourned, and Logan received congratulations on his first
major legislative victory.1 Six days later the Senate
passed the bill by a four vote majority.
Though the victory was popular in Egypt, others in
the state said that the law was brutal, too stringent,
and passed by the Democrats merely to satisfy southern
Illinois and to placate their fellow Democrats from the
slave states. Several mass meetings were held in the
North to protest the act's passage. The attack came from
many quarters, some Democrats joined the Whigs and Free
Soilers in opposition. John M. Palmer, writing years
later, summed up their feeling: "All the provisions of the
act are an example of the barbarity which can only be
excused by the prejudices of that part, the Southern, of
the State of Illinois."3
One student of the negro in Illinois maintains
that the bill was probably favored by a majority of the
Logan's law did receive staunch support from the
Illinois State Register (Springfield), but some Democratic
organs in northern Illinois were hesitant in giving the
measure their unqualified backing.
John M. Palmer, Personal Recollections, 59.
state's population, and that though many opposed the rigid
provisions for enforcement, most Illinoisans favored the
exclusion of free negroes in principle.1 The same writer
challenges those who believe that the law was never enforced,
citing at least three cases of arrest under the "Logan negro
law."2 Gustavus Koerner, a leading German politician, also
gives evidence of the law's enforcement. Koerner, an
opponent of the bill, tells of freeing a negro about to be
arrested under the measure.3 The law remained in effect
until 1863, when it was repealed.
On February 14, the 18th Assembly came to an anti-
climactic end. Logan collected his per diem and mileage,
$145, and said good-by to the many new friends he had made
and returned to Egypt over muddy February roads. The ses-
sion had given Logan a chance to move up the political
ladder. His name was known throughout Illinois, and he
had made a record that gave him increased stature in
Egypt. The 26 year old returned as a conquering hero
who had advanced his section's legislative banner, met the
enemy, and emerged victorious. His fellow Egyptians were
already speaking of the great things the future held for him.
Harris, op. cit., 237.
3Gustavus Koerner, Memoirs, II, 31.
On his return, Logan and Parish settled down to
their expanding practice in Benton. Shortly thereafter
John was summoned to Murphysboro by the news that his father
was dying. Dr. Logan had been in poor health for some ticie
and John arrived to find him barely alive. Within the
week, despite the best attention available, Dr. Logan
died from an abscessed liver. Phe young legislator's
triumphant return *;aa shattered. The deep affection
between father and son is obvious from their correspond-
ence. The doctor had been proud of his son's success;
his influence on John's youth and early political career was
considerable. ,ith the doctor'u death Tom, 25, took over
the management of the family farm and John returned to
Back in Benton, Logan found that increased popu-
larity materially aided him. Logan and Parish took all
kinds of cases. They defended murderers, took divorce
cases, and spent most of their time in actions involving
s.-iall claims.2 Logan's most Zanous case during this brief
period as an attorney was his defense of a prominent citizen
of Union County on trial for murder. Hostility toward
George Smith, Southern Illinois, III, 1149.
Ms. of legal notebooks, 1851-58, Logan Mss.
his client led Logan to ask for a change of venue, and the
trial was moved to Golconda. John's plea was self-defense
as the death had taken place during an altercation. The
courthouse stood in a field of grazing sheep. As John
arose to deliver his sunrm;tion to the jury, a dog chased
a lamb into the courtroom. Sensing his opportunity, John
seized the larb and, holdin- it in his aris, likened the
defendant to the sacrificial lamb of the Old Testament.
The plea wias effective and the jury found the defendant
But John was not long to -ppear as an attorney for
the defense. In 153 the election for prosecuting attorney
of the Third Judicial Fistrict was to be held. A victory
in this election would give hin an excellent chance of
improving himself p litically, as iell as ganiing prestige
in the legal profession The Third DiUtrict included the
lo,.-er 16 counti-s of the state and included most of the
counties of the Ninth Congressional District. \ term as
prosecutor would give John a chance to spread hi- influence
over the entire area and stand him in good rtead for any
future attempt at h -- r elective office. He announced
Dawson, op. cit., 9.
Hawkins, op. cit., 26.
for the office he had held briefly in 1852 and was easily
In the spring of 1854 Logan began his new official
duties. He retained his partnership with Parish in name
until 1855, when Parish became circuit court judge and the
partnership was dissolved. As prosecutor, John visited
the counties of his district for the regular court sessions.
Travel over rough roads on horseback was tiring and occa-
sional rheumatism, contracted during the march to Santa Fe,
Court was pure delight to John. There was ample
opportunity for hearty conviviality, story telling, and
discussion of politics. Though his judicial duties occu-
pied a great deal of time, the young attorney was active
in Egyptian politics. His leadership in the legislature,
his record as prosecutor and his willingness to speak out
in defense of the section at every occasion made him a
growing force in Egypt. The editor of the Cairo City Times
reported on June 7, 1845 his attendance at court, where
he met, "Our old friend John A. Logan, who...is performing
with universal acceptability the duties of State's Attorney."2
Mary Logan, Reminiscences, 8.
Cairo City Times, June 7, 1854.
1854 was an election year and Logan maintained
close interest in the Democratic nomination for the House.
It went to Scott Marshall, who was chosen to succeed Uillis
Allen, leaving the House after two terms. Logan had met
Marshall on the circuit, and they had become close friends.
During his campaign, Marshall prominently displayed a list
of "intimate acquaintances" who endorsed his candidacy.
Logan's name headed the list.1
The same year brought the renewal of the debate
over slavery in the territories which many felt had been
solved in 1850. Most of the Illinois Democrats, Logan
included, backed Douglas and popular sovereignty as a
solution to the problem and endorsed the Kansas-Nebraska
Act. When the Little Giant returned to Springficld, plans
were made for a great meeting to greet him. Logan journeyed
to the capital to see the senator, and as Douglas spoke to
the crowd, John stood among the state's party leaders behind
him. He enthusiastically applauded Douglas' statement,
"I tell you the time has not yet come when a handful of
traitors in our camp can turn the great State of Illinois...
into a Negro worshiping, Negro equality community."2
Ibid., Nov. 1, 1854. Among other names on the
list was Marion County Democrat Silas Bryan, father of
William Jennings Bryan.
Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years,
Logan returned to Egypt and in January, 1855 he
watched the bitter assembly battle in the election of a U.S.
Senator. The leading candidates were incumbent Democrat
James Shields and the Democratic Governor Joel Matteson.
Also in the race were former Congressman Abraham Lincoln
and anti-Nebraska Democrat Lyman Trumbull, who was opposed
by the Douglas men for what they felt amounted to desertion.
Shields and Lincoln were the leading contenders at the out-
set, but neither seemed able to muster a majority. On the
sixth ballot, with the body deadlocked, three Democrats
voted for Logan, "a particularly violent and very young
Democrat who was outspoken in his pro-slavery and Southern
sympathies."4 Logan's three votes went to Matteson on the
next ballot and the governor battled Trumbull, with the
latter winning the seat.
Logan's three votes were obviously a temporary
marking time by the three men, especially since John, at
28, was constitutionally unable to serve. Nevertheless
the mention of Logan's name, even in so casual a manner,
illustrates that he was a rising figure.
The new year was a fortunate one for the young
lawyer-politician. In the spring John began a legal
Albert Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln, II, 285. The
three legislators voting for Logan were Hopkins, Gray,
and Thomas Sams. Sams represented Logan's old district.
association with W. J. "Josh" Allen. John's new partner
was the son of ex-Congressman Willis Allen and the partner-
ship brought to an end Logan'd estrangement from this
influential Egyptian political family. Relations had been
improving slowly since the 1852 elections, and Logan and
"Josh" Allen remained close friends down to the Civil War,
though their partnership was terminated in 1859.1
Most of John's business in early 1855 concerned a
murder trial at Jonesboro, but he had time to devote to
politics. In the prohibition election of that year, he
spoke against the "drys" as the southern counties voted
solidly against the law. He lost no occasion to speak
approval of popular sovereignty and to acclaim Douglas a
future president. Logan also spoke several times against
the Know-Nothings, charging them with intolerance and with
attempting to deny constitutional rights to many Americans.
One of these speeches, at Metropolis, led the Cairo City
Times to exclaim, "John is one of the right sort; a pure
patriot and unflinching Democrat."2
Perhaps the most important political event of the
year in Egypt was Douglas' autumn visit. The Little Giant
History of Jackson County, 66; Cairo City Times,
April 4, 1855.
Cairo City Times, May 2, 1855.
was pleased with the Democratic organization in southern
Illinois and promised to speak there in September and
October.1 He made several stops and Logan joined the senator
in striking out at opposition to "Nebraska policy." The 29
year old prosecutor had become Douglas' close friend and
supporter, and the older man was happy to be associated
with the son of his old friend of the 10th General Assem-
Despite John's political interests, law was still
his primary concern, and as a prosecutor he toured the
circuit. These court sessions were pleasant. With the
exception of Murphysboro, none gave him greater pleasure
than his stops in Shawneetown, county seat of Gallatin
County, a lively village overlooking the Ohio. It had been
one of Egypt's earliest ports, and many of the section's
pioneers, who drifted down the Ohio, debarked there. In
1855 it was the sight of a thriving land office serving
much of southern Illinois.3
Registrar of the Shawneetown land office was
John's old friend John M. Cunringham, and John was always
Stephen A. Douglas to Charles Lanphier, July 7,
1855, Lanphier Mss., Illinois State Historical Library,
Cairo City Times, Sept. 26, 1855; Frank E.
Stevens, The Life of Stenhen A. Douglas, 673.
3Brownell, op. cit., 96.
welcome at the captain's home. Cunningham had crossed the
continent to California after the Mexican War, had been
unsuccessful in his quest for gold, and returned to Illinois
to serve as Massac County marshal. Then in 1853 the captain
was appointed registrar of the land office.1
In 1854 Logan's circuit took him to Shawneetown
and the old friends met and re-lived the march to Santa Fe.
Logan reminded the captain that during the war he had
promised to give him his daughter Mary in marriage. The
promise had been made in jest since she was only eight at
the time, but Logan asked about her and was told she was
in school at St. Vincent's Academy, near Morganfield,
Kentucky.2 During the next year Logan returned frequently
and in June, 1855 Mary came home and her father invited
Logan to meet her. The girl was 17, vivacious and friendly,
with a large circle of young friends.
John seems to have fallen in love with Mary almost
from their first meeting, but Mary, fresh from school,
showed signs of uncertainty. Her return from St. Vincent's
brought a round of parties with old friends, but Logan
persisted, and traveled long distances to spend weekends
with her. In the early summer John was able to spend
Shawneetown Illinoisan, AprJl 1, 1853; Mary Logan,
Mary Logan, Reminiscences, 27, 29.
some time in Shawneetown as prosecutor in a local murder
case and Mary's hesitancy began to fade with his constant
By August John was ready to propose and on the
sixth he wrote her of his love, concluding with, "be
assured of my sincerity and after mature reflection, say
that you will be mine."2 Mary's answer was not complete
acceptance. She still had reservations, and later wrote:
"To this day I marvel that a young man of Logan's rare
ability, ambition, and mature years...should hazard his
career by marrying a girl of seventeen."3 Logan's reply
to her letter was a panic stricken missive asking if there
was a rival for her affections. His fears were quickly
allayed, however, and one day later, in Benton, he received
her acceptance. November 27 was the wedding date.4
From August to November, Logan rode to Shawneetown
whenever possible and the two corresponded steadily. Their
letters indicate that Mary's shyness had passed; the letters
are those of two people in love. John wrote, "I would
Shawneeto-.n Illinoisan, March 2, 1855.
JAL to Mary Cunningham, Aug. 6, 1855, Logan Mss.
Mary Logan, Reminiscences, 38-39.
JAL to Mary Cunningham, Aug. 15, 16, 1855, Logan
rather dwell in a tent with one faithful heart, than lord
it in palaces with an ungrateful one." She answered, "I
make no pretensions and give you myself heart and hand."l
They exchanged miniatures, and in October, when Mary spent
a week in Kentucky at her old school, John journeyed to
Murphysboro, assuring Mary, "I shall have a nice time
telling my good old Mother all about My Mary and having her
advice to me."2
On the eve of the wedding some unpleasantness arose
when Captain Cunningham was accused by the Shawneetown
Illinoisan of fraud, but the charges were not proved.
Defense came from many quarters, and by nuptial day the
cloud had passed. The wedding was simple. Logan's family
lived too far to attend and the couple was married by John's
old partner, Judge Parish, in the presence of a few friends.4
Accompanied by several traveling companions, the
wedding pair left for Benton. Until a cottage was ready,
they lived with Parish and his wife. John soon took his
bride to Murphysboro to meet his family, returning with a
JAL to Mary Cunningham, Aug. 20, 1855, Logan Mss.
JAL to Mary Cunningham, Oct. 5, 1855, Logan Mss.
Cairo City Times, Oct. 31, 1855.
Mary Logan, Reminiscences, 39.
colored maid donated by Mrs. Logar.. Mary's first months
in Benton were a constant strain, 3ince she had to act as
hostess to large groups of her husband's friends in Benton
for court session. "Remembering that Logan's wife must be
equal to everything," she later wrote, "I put aside my
Mary accompanied Logan on the circuit. She endured
jolting buggy rides from town to town and was entranced with
the excitement of court days. These events were the only
contact many had with the outside, and Mary took pride in
John's activity in discussions. Through such attentions,
Logan was rapidly becoming Egypt's most popular political
leader.2 Mary became more than a mere traveling companion
as she began to read law reports to her husband and write
blanks for the indictments used by the prosecutor.3
Soon Mary's delightful, arduous, trips had to cease.
In early 1856 John learned that he was going to become a
father. The cottage in Benton became a lonely place for
the young wife and she told John she would never get used
to his absences.4 His letters were filled with legal news
and regrets at separation. Occasionally Logan's fellow
Mary Logan to JAL, Jan. 31, 1856, Logan Mas.
lawyers wrote Mary to assure her of John's health.
At every possible occasion John came to Benton, but
1856 was an important political year and visits became
fewer. He kept in close touch with local, state, and
national affairs. From Washington a Douglas supporter
suggested Logan begin organizing support for the Little
Ciant for president, "so as to show abroad that he stands
fair in his own state."2 Other politicians wrote asking
his advice and support, indicating that his influence was
being courted by office-seekers throughout southern
In the summer, Lcgan joined Illinois Democrats
at Springfield to nominate their candidates for state office.
a. c de lord the fact that Buchanan had won the presi-
dential nomination over Douglas, but they endorsed "Buck
and Dreck" against the "Black :e .blic- Fremont. Logan
.;as named an elector on the Democratic ticket from the
1linth Congressional District, and he was one of the
orators chosen to address the mass meeting held after the
conientron. .illiam A. Richardson was nominated for
',. Crenshaw to Mary Logan, Aug. 13, 1856,
John Hacker to JAL, Feb. 22, 1856, Logan lHs.
Green B. Ra m to JIL, Aug. 7, 1856; WJilliam H.
Snyder to JAL, March 13, 1856, Logan Mss.
Cairo Times and Delta, May 7, 1856.
governor against William Bissell, a former Democrat who
had broken with the party on the Kansas issue. The "Nebraska"
test of loyalty to Douglas' leadership was applied every-
where by the Democrats, and in Egypt, with the exception
of the German counties along the Mississippi, the Little
Giant received solid support. The lows of the German
Democrats was partially compensated for by the accession
to the Democrats of old Whigs whose party had disinte-
In Egypt, the Democratic Convention in the Ninth
District re-nominated Scott Marshall for the House, a
nomination tantamount to election. Logan again stumped
southern Illinois for Marshall and the party ticket. In
the fall he decided to resign as state's attorney and run
for the legislature from his old district. His powerful
voice was heard throughout the section as he denounced
"Black Republicans" and Know-Nothings with equal fervor.2
When Douglas spoke in Carbondale in October, Logan joined
Marshall and loillis Allen in echoing the statements of the
senior senator.3 At Belleville the Democrats invaded the
German counties in force and Logan joined John A. McClernand,
James Robinson, both congressmen, Don Morrison and Bob
Cole, op. cit., 126.
2Cairo Times and Delta, July 16, 1856.
3Ibid., Oct. 15, 1856.
Ingersoll, in speaking for the party's candidates. Gus-
tavus Koerner remembered Logan as "one of the most vitu-
perative speakers [who] abused Colonel Bissell so as to
disgust even his party friends."I
Logan's own contest was never in doubt, and on
election day he rolled up a greater majority than four years
earlier. For a time, however, the fate of Buchanan and
Richardson in Illinois was in doubt. Despite huge Demo-
cratic majorities in Egypt, the Republicans carried the
state house and Buchanan barely won the state's electoral
votes.2 whilee Logan felt that the state was "disgraced"
for having voted for Bissell Republicans gloried in their
gains and stated that only the solid vote of backward Egypt,
the "land of darkness," had kept Illinois out of the Repub-
The elation of election victory was followed by
the excitement of the birth of his first child, John Cun-
ningham Loran. December was the happiest period of the
Gustavus Koerner, Memoirs, II, 29.
Cairo Tirm-i and Delta, Nov. 26, 1856; D. ... Lusk,
.'litics and Politicians of Illinois, 35. In Logan's
district composed of Franklin and Jackson Counties, Buchanan
and Richardson ran far ahead of the Republicans. Buchanan
carried Franklin by 1051 to 5 and Jackson by 1144 to 2.
Richardson carried Franklin by 1076 to 34 and Jackson by
1096 to 46. The vote in Illinois for president was:
Buchanan 105,528; Fremont 96,27; Fi Imore, 37,531.
3Illinois rtate Journal (Springfield), Nov. 19,
1856; JAL to Mary Lo.an, Nov. 9, 1356, Logan Mss.
young couple's life. Baby and mother prospered, and the
proud new father boasted of his son and looked forward to
the session of the legislature. The separation in January
was an agonizing one. The Logans decided that mother and
child should stay in Benton rather than undertake the trip
to Springfield. John's brother William, who aspired to
a legal career, had been studying with his older brother
in Benton, and he promised to stay with Mary and the baby.
The 20th General Assembly met in Springfield on
January 5, 1857. This time Logan was no longer the obscure
son of a former legislator, but a figure of considerable
influence. Despite Bissell's victory, the Democrats had
captured both houses of the Assembly, and the governor
was faced by a hostile legislature. On the Democratic
side of the House, outstanding leaders were Logan, John
Dougherty, Ebon C. Ingersoll, Bob's brother, W. R. Morrison,
and S. W. Moulton. Leaders of the Republicans were C. B.
Denio and Isaac Arnold. There was also a small group of
six Know-Nothin7s, led by Shelby M. Cullom of Springfield.2
First business was election of a speaker, and Demo-
crat Samuel Holmes' victory over Isaac Arnold presaged
Mary Logan, Reminiscences, 57.
Journal Illinois House of Representatives, Twentieth
General Assembly, 1857, 3-5. Hereafter cited as House
Democratic domination. The House completed its routine
business, and Logan, Moulton and Cullom were named to con-
duct Governor Matteson to the chair for his message. The
address was a review of his administration, and Logan made
the routine motion to print 20,000 copies of the speech,
The following day committee assignments were made.
Logan was appointed to Judiciary, Finance, Penitentiary,
Banks and Corporations, and was named chairman of the
Committee on Elections. On January 13, the serenity of
the chamber was shattered and party feelings were inflamed
almost to the point of violence. Logan's speech caused the
explosion, for which many had been waiting.
Governor Bissell was a victim of a "rheumatic...
affliction of the lower extremities which prevents me
from much -l]':In-, without assistance." The partial
paralysis was a result of Mexican War injuries, and Bissell
decided in 1855, to give up politics. In 1856 he changed
his mind when he discovered "an extraordinary and persistent
effort being made to wheel Illinois into the ranks of
'. H. Bissell to E. Peck, Jan. 21, 1856, Joseph
Gillespie Mss., Illinois State Historical Library, Spring-
Bissell had been a Democrat, but renounced Douglas'
leadership following the Kansas-Nebraska Act. His change
to the Republican Party cost him little support and in
1856 he was elected governor in an immense show of popu-
larity. This was treason, and Democrats were looking for
a chance to attack the traitor. Their opportunity came
when they discovered that Bissell had once been challenged
to a duel by Senator Jefferson Davis of Mississippi in a
feud involving their actions in the Mexican War. Since the
1848 Constitution prevented a man from taking office as
chief executive under these conditions, the stage was set.2
Strangely enough, the Democrats did not press the
accusation in the campaign, but Logan and the other Demo-
crats had been preparing their case since the election,
and seeking "an orator to execute the unfeeling task
selected with skillful penetration." Logan was chosen.3
This plan of attack was not unknown to the general public
since newspapers, mostly Democratic, had been editorializing
lCole, on) cit., 152.
;.helby M. Cullom, Fifty Years of Public Service:
Personal Recollections, 180; Bateman and Selby, op. cit.,
I, 48; Cole, op. cit., 151-152.
Alexander Davidson and Bernard Stuve, History of
Illinois, 661; JAL to William R. Morrison, Jan. 13, 1857;
William R. Morrison to JAL, Jan. 13, 1857; JAL to Philip B.
Fouke, Jan. 6, 1857, Logan Mss.; Robert D. Holt, "The
Political Career of William A. Richardson," Journal
Illinois State Hist. Soc., XXVI, No. 3 (Oct., 1933), 242.
on Bissell's disqualification for some time.
Then the Assembly convened, the state waited for
the Democratic challenge. D e to Bicsell's infirmity, the
governor's message was read by I. R. Diller. It was a
moderate speech, but left no doubt but that Bissell was
opposed to extension of slavery in the territories.
following the reading, Arnold moved to print 20,000 copies.
Loaan rose, moved to amend the number to 10,000 and began
his tirade against Bissell. He condemned Bissell's position
on slavery as an abject surrender to the abolitionist prin-
ciples of the Republicans, and assaulted the governor as a
perjurer, branding him as unfit to hold his high office.
"achinr. an emotional crescendo, Logan concluded:
This sir, is my home. Beneath the green and
hallowed sod of this beautiful prarie state lie the
bones of my aged and venerable father. Snall I
stand quietly by, as one of the people's reore-
sentatives, and see her public morals corrupted,
her constitution violated, her honor tarnished, and
give ro sound of alarm?3
His final words were lost in a roar of applause from the
Democrats and a storm of boos from the Republicans. Arnold
and Denio rose to Bissell's defense, and Koerner condemned
Cqiro Times and Delta Nov. 19, 1856.
Cullom, o1. cit., 25.
3Ms. of a speech delivered January 13, 1857, in
the Illinois State Legislature, Logan Liss.
the speech as the "coarsest billingsgate."l A Republican
paper called Logan's effort a "long and frothy speech...in
which he has disgusted his own party."2 Even the Know-
Nothings backed Bissell and Cullom called the speech "cruel
and a virulent attack" and recalled, "I became very much
prejudiced against him."
Democrats jumped to Logan's defense. The speech
was published, in pamphlet form, with an appendix of letters
from Davis to Bissell, for distribution throughout Illinois.
Support came from many quarters, and Judpe I. N. Haynie
told Logan that his speech had been well received in
Egypt.5 Some Democrats, however, were upset by the lack
of consideration shown the sickly governor.
Bissell was a sensitive man, and the attack "deeply
wounded him." He became his own best defender. Instead
of resorting to vituperation, he countered the charges with
calm, reasoned argument. Bissell simply maintained, as he
had during the election, that the constitution did not
Koerner, op. cit., II, 39.
Quincy Weekly Whig, Feb. 7, 1857.
Cullom, op. cit., 25, 180.
Davidson and Stuve, op. cit., 661.
I. N. Haynie to JAL, Jan. 17, 1857, Logan Mss.
Davidson and Stuve, op. cit., 661.
apply in his case. His defense was that the technical
challenge had not been given or accepted and that no duel
had been fought. Furthermore he claimed that since the
entire affair had taken place outside the state and not
within Illinois' jurisdiction, he was in no way a perjurer
and could take his oath of office.1
The turmoil gradually subsided, but the animosities
the speech created remained beneath the surface. The
"Bissell speech" was Logan's major achievement of the
session, and while it strengthened him at home, its very
nature tended to verify Republican claims that Logan was
little better than a bigoted, cruel rowdy from backward
Egypt who merely served as a henchman for Douglas.2
For the rest of the session, Logan's activity was
steady and unsensational. He introduced a number of private
incorporation bills which easily passed. He led the fight
against repeal of part of his "Negro exclusion bill" of
1853, and the motion to repeal was tabled 46 to 28.3
Another move popular in Egypt was his active participation
in the fight to fend off reapportionment. One proposal,
which would have cut the number of representatives in
Koerner, op. cit., II, 39; Cullom, op. cit., 180.
Cameron Rogers, Colonel Bob Ingersoll, 89.
3House Journal, 1857, 91.
Lower Egypt from five to four, was tabled 38 to 32.
Among the most constructive legislation of the session were
acts establishing free schools, and the law building a new
penitentiary. These were passed with little fanfare, and
when the solons dispersed February 19, the Logan speech
remained the most talked about event of the session.
Mary anxiously awaited the end of the business in
Springfield. She wrote a stream of letters chronicling
the progress of the baby and complaining of the dull life
in Benton. Bob Ingersoll, who stopped to see her, told
her in February that the session would probably run longer
than usual.2 Sooner than she expected, John came home to
spend what they both hoped would be a long sojourn.
However, fate seemed against them having much time
together. Logan had to make a living, and he soon set off
on circuit, with his partner "Josh" Allen. He found no
dearth of business, and the young barrister who had bearded
the Republicans in the capital had as much work as he could
handle. He was gradually becoming one of the most sought
after lawyers in the southern half of the state. In the
summer of 1857, Logan was retained by the prosecution in
Mary Logan to JAL, Jan. 18, Feb. 11, 1857,
3JAL to Mary Logan, May 13, 1857, Logan Mss.
the case for which he is best remembered.
Shawneetovm was a town of violent Democratic
factionalism. The local paper, the Illinoisan, actively
participated in these feuds and served as a mouthpiece for
Colonel James C. Sloo, a quarrelsome Democrat who differed
with most Egyptians on slavery. Sloo had been at odds with
the majority of his party for years, once calling Scott
Marshall a "foul mouthed puppy." Leader of the colonel's
opponents was John E. Hall, clerk of the county and circuit
courts. Hall was a close friend of Captain Cunningham and
Bob Ingersoll, his deputy. These three constantly came
under attack from the Illinoisan and Sloo.2
The Hall faction frequently used nearby newspapers
to defend themselves. In October, 1856, the Marion Intel-
ligencer ran an article signed "Vindex," which delivered
a scurrilous attack on Colonel Sloo. When Ingersoll
asked his superior if he was "Vindex," he received an
enigmatic reply. Hall's manner convinced Ingersoll that
Shawneetown Illinoisan, Sept. 8, 1854.
Ms. of Ingersoll Brothers legal day book, 1856-57,
Robert G. and Ebon C. Ingersoll Mss., Illinois State
Historical Library, Springfield; Rogers, op. cit., 86;
Herman Kittredge, Robert G. Ingersoll; a Biographical
Anpreciation, 36; Shawneetown Illinoisan as quoted in the
Cairo City Times, Oct. 31, 1855.
3Marion Intelligencer, Oct. 10, 1856.
he had delivered the blast.1
In November, Colonel Sloo's son Robert returned
from West Point and began gunning for "Vindex." As Inger-
soll was taking dictation from Hall, one day Bob Sloo
appeared in the doorway. Before either man could move,
Sloo fired, and Hall lay dead in Ingersoll's arms. The
young assassin made no attempt to escape and was quickly
apprehended, but the trial did not begin until spring of
In southern Illinois, the excitement of the Dred
Scott decision pailed into insignificance beside the Sloo
trial. As the time approached, Shawneetown was deluged by
visitors. The prosecution hired Logan and Allen, and the
defense vas led by John Dougherty, a leading Democrat and
old friend of Colonel Sloo. Logan took the case hesi-
tantly since Mary was slightly ill when he left Benton.
Empaneling a jury took some time, so heated were
local passions, and it was late M-'ay before the trial began.
The defense produced an immediate sensation when it indi-
cated that Sloo's defense would be temporary insanity,
a plea Logan considered "a most infamous lie...but will
Rogers, op. cit., 87; Kittredge, op. cit., 39.
Cairo Times and Delta, June 3, 1857.
not avail him in my judgement." The trial dragged on
through the summer until tempers were frayed and passions
almost at the breaking point. To make matters more uncom-
fortable for Logan, Mary's illness had not abated and the
baby was sick. By August he was ready to go home:
You can not imagine the distress and uneasiness
of mind I am in since reading your letter. Has the
Lord determined to destroy our happiness on this
earth" I am almost tempted to start home tonight,
but...I suppose I will have to remain in suspense
till I hear again. We are nearly through this week
and God knows I will not leave you again.2
He also advised her that he was confident that Sloo could
not be acquitted and that a hung jury was the accused's
only hope of escape.
In early August, Logan wrote that Sloo's defense
"have got four abolition doctors here from the North who
are going to swear that he is crazy as a bedbug and God
knows what effect it will have on the case."3 The effect
was disastrous, and Sloo was eventually acquitted on the
grounds of insanity. This was a pioneer case in the state
since it was one of the first acquittals based on insanity.
Logan had served the prosecution ably and was disappointed
JAL to Mary Logan, May 28, 1857, Logan Mss.
Ibid., Aug. 3, 4, 1857, Logan Mss.
3 Ibid., July 28, 1357, Logan Mss.
at the verdict, but he was at last free to return to
He returned to find Mary recovered but his son's
condition had worsened. It was soon evident that the baby
might never recover, and the autumn was filled with despair
which descended to the depths when the baby died in late
The period following this tragic event were months
of crisis for the family. Mary, lonely at home, had borne
the brunt of the tragedy, and was desolated. She pleaded
with John not to leave her again, and when he returned to
the circuit and the political wars in 1858, her letters
ring with supplications. "Politics if you will allow can
destroy our happiness together. It will robb [sic] you of
all domestic feelings and make you miserable except when in
the society of men engaged in the discussion of political
subjects." The rest of this letter reveals the core of
their personal relationship during these bleak days:
I know my dear will forgive me when he remembers
what a different life I have had. I was married with
nothing but pleasure and happiness in view. I was
just from the scenes of happy school days. I was
young and knew nothing of life and did not anticipate
its realities so full of sorrow. I have been sick
almost all the time, and you have been forced to be
Rogers, on. cit., 89.
Mary Logan, Reminiscences, 58.
away from home so much of your time. Death has
visited us and taken our little Treasure. Indeed
we have had life in all its realities. You were
older and have mingled with the world and did not
picture life as one smooth scene of pleasure, and
I have always leaned upon you as my only sup ort
in undergoing all these changes. I have ever looked
up to you as a Father more than a companion and have
expected you to listen to my complaints and troubles
and to talk with me and show me my errors when I do
wrong.... In the future lets hope for a brighter life
and although circumstances may yet bring forth trials
that attend mankind we may be happy together.1
These letters are a far cry from the blissful
picture Mrs. Logan painted of their marriage years later.
"Our marriage was a real partnership," she wrote, "I shared
his thoughts and plans no less when he was a Senator than
when he was a prosecuting attorney in Southern Illinois."2
Logan countered with arguments he used over and
over. He told Mary that law and politics were his only
trade. He regretted the separations, but they were neces-
sary for him to make a living. whetherr due to his arguments,
or because Mary realized that John was what he was, her
letters are punctuated with glimpses of life, as when she
wrote, "It will sound rather strange to you to see me so
much interested about your being 3 candidate,...but I am
satisfied you will not be contented to lead a quiet domestic
life for a few years at least." One reason for this interest
Mary Logan to JAL, Iarch 8, 1858, Logan Mss.
Mary Logan, Reminiscences, vii.
was that the candidacy Mary alluded to was for congressman.
She hoped that a victory would keep them together more
effectively than Logan's earlier posts.1
In the spring of 1858, rumors spread through Egypt
that Marshall would step aside and that Logan would be his
successor. Logan's apprenticeship in state politics was
coming to a close. As he had moved from local politics
to the state level in 1853, so he was prepared to move to
the national scene in 1858. While the nation watched
Illinois, all Egypt kept an eye on Logan, waiting for con-
firmation of rumor. In Benton, Mary Logan listened and
hoped for the best.
DIRTY WORK IN WASHINGTON
Egypt had always been a Democratic stronghold.
Whigs received little support from small farmers who loudly
and proudly proclaimed their loyalty to Jacksonian Demo-
cracy. In 1856 Republicans showed little power in Egypt.
Know-Nothings generally ran ahead of Republicans, there
but their total vote was insignificant compared to the
immense vote for Buchanan and Richardson. For years,
Democrats running for state positions had counted on
Egyptian landslides to push them into office. Douglas
was no exception, and in 1846 and 1852 the section marched
solidly behind him. Then came the renewal of the question
of slavery in the territories, which brought a change to
the Democratic party of Egypt, Illinois, and the nation.
In 1857 Buchanan demanded that the Lecompton Con-
stitution be accepted as the formula for solution of the
Kansas muddle. When support of this mockery of popular
sovereignty became a test of party loyalty, the Democratic
party became hopelessly divided. In December, Douglas,
who would not accept the pro-slave constitution, arrived
in Washington to talk to the President. The two men could
not agree, and Buchanan warned the Illinois senator of
the price of party insurgency.
The Douglas-Buchanan split had immediate reper-
cussions in Egypt. Most southern Illinois Democrats fell
in behind Douglas, but there were administration supporters,
and a Buchanan organ threw down the gauntlet:
It has been boasted that Mr. Douglas holds Illinois
in his breeches pocket, and can lead it away with him
in support of whatever vagaries his self-willed head
may l1ad him into. This is a most tremendous mis-
Logan never hesitated in his support of the Little
Giant, agreeing with the Douglas press which proclaimed,
"The people are with him for he is right."3 As the Douglas-
ites organized for the battle, there was speculation as to
the Douglas candidate for the House in the Ninth District.
In April, Scott Marshall declined to run for re-election,
announcing that he had a friend willing to take up the
cry against Lecompton. To most Egyptians the "friend"
was obviously Logan, and in a perceptive view of Egyptian
politics the administration press asked:
Philip G. Auchampaugh, "The Buchanan-Douglas
Feud," Journal, Illinois State Hist. Soc., XXV, No. 1
(April, 1932), 12; Milton, The Eve of Conflict, 273.
Cairo Times and Delta, Feb. 24, 1858.
Salem Advocate, Jan. 1, 1858.
Wlilliam Hacker to JAL, April 11, 1858, Logan Mss.
How have our Congressional candidates been nomi-
nated and elected? Beginning with Willis Allen they
have been elected by the fiat of a few. Samuel S.
Marshall was a man of influence and belonged to this
clique; John A. Logan is a man of influence and
belongs to this clique; W. J. Allen is a man of
influence and belongs to this clique; all were
aspirants for congressional honors; therefore it
was arranged between them that Mr. Marshall should
first go to Congress, Mr. Logan next, each one
turning his own influence and that of his friends
in favor of the one whose turn it might be to go
There had been such an agreement between F-::t's Demo-
cratic leaders, and Marshall, having stepped aside, looked
forward to Logan's "glorious victory over the Black Republi-
cans and the Chicago Postmaster traitors combined."2
Most Illinois Democratic leaders remained loyal
to Douglas and denounced the "Danites" or "Buccaneers,"
as the administration men were called. Logan took the
stump early in the campaign in defense of his leader.
After a speech in Cairo on April 13, even the hostile local
.ress called his effort "calm and argumentative and fre-
quently interrupted by cheering." Many leading Democrats
wrote Logan in the spring assuring him of an easy triumph
in the Ninth District. Congressman James C. Robinson
Cairo Tires and Delta, April 21, 1858.
S. S. Marshall to JAL, May 2, 1859, Logan Mss.
The "Postmaster traitors" are the "Danites."
Cairo Times and Delta, April 1i, 1958.
advised him that even the doubtful counties of the district
were free of both Republicans and Lecomptonites.1
The Republicans saw in the Democratic schism a
chance for victory in the Senate race as well as a possi-
bility of picking up several House seats. The "Danites"
were making such extravagant claims in Egypt that some
Republican leaders envisioned possible gains in the Demo-
cratic stronghold. These optimists were warned by D. L.
Phillips, a Democrat turned Republican, that these claims
were false and that Egypt was still pro-Douglas. He added
in a letter to Senator Trumnbull, "The Democracy here are
led by the Allens, Marshall, Lo-an. .and others, and these
are all for Douglas. John Logan is bitter against Bucha-
nan."2 Another Egyptian Republican wrote Trumbull that
Logan preferred Seward to Buchanan.3
If the "Danites" had little strength in Egypt,
they were weaker in northern Illinois where their extreme
"doughfacism" was in disfavor. In many counties only the
federally appointed postmasters were Buchanan men, and
Republicans began to realize that division in their
James C. Robinson to JAL, April 21, 1858, Logan
D. L. Phillips to Lyman Trumbull, March 2, 1858,
Lyman Trumbull Mss.
3Ben L. Wiley to Lyman Trumbull, March 2, 1858,
opponents' ranks might do them little good.1
With Logan's nomination a foregone conclusion, he
became a target for attacks by both "Danite" and Republican
papers. The State Journal called him "an arrant trickster
of the blackguard order." The Republican organ at Chicago
agreed and added: "He is a Douglasite...and evinces determi-
nation to follow that gentleman unto the end." Among
Democratic papers of the state, however, administration
forces fared badly. Sixty-nine papers u.u ort d Douglas
with only five backing the "Danites."3
Organized campaigning began April 21 when Demo-
crats assembled at Springfield. Douglas' candidacy was
endorsed and candidates nominated for two state offices.
After Douglas' nomination, the convention split, the
"Danites" calling a meeting for June 9 to name their state
ticket. In June the Republicans gathered to name their
party's slate. They endorsed Abraham Lincoln as Douglas'
op onent and jibed at the divided Democrats. The Republi-
cans called their own convention a "brilliant triumph."
Cole, op. cit., 158.
Illinois State Journal, April 22, 1858; Chicago
Press and Tribune, quoted in Cairo Times and Delta, April 28,
3James W. Sheahan, The Life of Stephen A. Douglas,
l4ton Courier, June 24, 1858.
Shortly after the Democratic convention at Spring-
field adjourned, Logan and his fellow Egyptians held their
district convention at Thebes. Logan was nominated for
the House by acclamation, and despite the absence of oppo-
sition, he began stumping the district.
This speaking tour was interrupted in June when
Logan and his wife journeyed to Chicago to meet Senator
Douglas. On the ninth, amid wild enthusiasm, the Little
Giant entered the city. There he made his first speech of
the canvass and conferred with his supporters from all over
the state. Logan optimistically reported on conditions in
the Ninth District and applauded Douglas' speech in which
the senator attacked both Buchanan and the Republicans.1
The Douglas caravan moved on to Springfield for the sena-
tor's second major address. The Logans rode the triumphal
train to the capital and again listened to the Little Giant
excoriate their opponents.
After the Springfield mass meeting, Logan and Mary
returned to Benton to begin the congressional campaign. For
the first time since their marriage, Mary was able to
accompany him on extended tours, and she was thrilled with
the excitement of the campaign and impressed with Douglas,
Mary Logan, Reminiscences, 58.
whom she met in Chicago. Logan had promised her that she
might accompany him through the remainder of the canvass
and she took increased interest in her husband's affairs.
Opponents irore slow in appearing against Logan.
As early as April, rumors started that John Dougherty, well-
known Jonesboro Democrat, would be the "Danite" candidate,
but this was denied.2 Dougherty had a large following in
Lower Egypt, and Scott Marshall advised Logan to get him to
renounce Buchanan. This effort failed, and in June Dougherty
was nominated for state treasurer by the "Danites."3 The
Republican candidate in the Ninth District was Ben L. 7'iley,
who did little campaigning. Deploring this inactivity of
the opposition, M1arshall wrote Logan praying for a more
active fight, promising "to travel over the district and
help skin them." He added, "we won't have much fun in
Egypt unless you ca' got up --thlin of this kind."4
The first real opponent in the field was Logan's
former partner, '.. F. Farish, the "Danite" man, whom the
Cairo Times and Delta predicted would win the seat by a
Ibid., 58, 61.
Cairo Tines and Delta, April 28, 1858.
S. S. Marshall to JAL, .ay 2, 185,, Logan MILs.
"whooping majority." It v'as obvious to most observers
that the "Buccaneers" strength in Egypt was largely imagi-
nary. Logan's partner "Josh" Allen confidently told John
"we shall beat them."2
Logan discovered unexpected help. Lincoln challenged
Douglas to a series of joirt debates, and the list included
two Egyptian towns, Jonesboro and Alton. Logan would have
a chance to appear beside the senator and benefit from the
luster Douglas would add to his cause. Douglas also stood
to gain by appearing with Logan. The senator knew that
his lieutenant wielded great power in southern Illinois and
that Logan's support would probably mean that no "Danite"
legislators would be returned from Lower Egypt.
The first two debates took place at Ottawa and
Freeport, and in September the senatorial aspirants turned
toward Egypt. Dourlas arrived first, meeting Logan at
Chester, where Logan and U. F. Linder spoke for the senator.
The group moved on to Cairo, where Logan and Marshall pro-
ceeded Douglas in addressing a crowd of Democrats.3
Next day Douglas and his companions journeyed to
1Cairo Times and Delta, Aug. 11, 1858. The
Chester Herald made the first announcement of Parish's
candidacy, quoted in Chicago Press and Tribune, July 27, 1858.
W. J. Allen to JAL, July 8, 1858, Logan Mss.
3Cairo Times and Delta, Sept. 29, 1858; Linder,
op. cit., 345.
Jon .bor, to nect Lincoln, who arrived the previous evening.
S Jn boro -stin- -i, re of the quietest of the debates.
Until abaut non there s little evidence of any unusual
act*Vit -. Ab ut midday the '-m i as carriages, accompanied
by a canon, which boomed at every opportunity, rolled into
tT;a 't afternoon, about 2,000 .) le listened to the
two -1 -It!: rsnew their .rrunt't.1 iry Logan later remem-
beaed Ia' vbili y to win support by "the magnatism
of his er ality." '"h also rec!Qled Lincoln:
1 al ays like to think of Mr. Lincoln as he was
xn the days when I saw his with the eyes of an
Sor.ent. aw kardnec has not been exaggerated,
but it gave no effect of self-corsciousnuss. ,. .c
a zoeo-rt' "r about his unrainleness and about his
hoe., face, even in a state of tall an"r n ny
en, w' ch : Iud h-ve made any one who sn .y w.ssed
him in th st eet or aoa. hira pitting on a -fotorm
Je n bor.) debate renewed the exchange begun at
Freeport. "' s c-'nstantly cheered by the Partisan
crowd as he ended 1 r sovereignty in the fojce of the
DVPd cott decio n. Lincoln*s penetration into Egypt
.a the sinai for the -atherir of all -ypt's Re-ublicans.
corbIne4~ with the D nites," who a plauded
r 10 "' ;& 'rr T - -4, T estimates
tie crowd at ,O-J. i 'c. "'ree rs fLu:' estimated
tae number t 1, u' .. e t to
convince voters thnt Dourlan could not even draw a crowd
2 Iary Loan, Penini.scences, 61.
Lincoln out of hatred for Douglas, were able to muster con-
siderable vocal support for the gangling Republican.1
While nothing novel emerged from the Jinesboro
debate, it served as a rallying point for Egyptian Demo-
crats and Republicans. After the two debators concluded,
local battles began in earnest. Logan took advantage of
Douglas' presence, and following the match with Lincoln, the
Little Giant accompanied John to Benton. '.h re, September 16,
Douglas addressed a wildly partisan crowd in a grove north-
west of town. Mrs. Lo-an was busily occupied making a huge
flag to be used in the procession to the speaker's stand,
and she arranged the reception for Douglas. With Logan
presiding, he and the senator bla-ted the "Danites" and
called on the voters of Franklin County to follow the
Douglas banner.2 The narty next moved to the state fair at
Centralia, which provided a good opportunity for a large
crowd. Again Logan and Douglas shared the platform, the
former delivering a speech which even the Chicago Press
and Tribune admitted was effective.
With the departure of Lincoln and Douglas, politics
settled back to normal. But the Alton Courier thought that
Paul M. Angle (ed.), Created Equal? The Complete
Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858, 200, 223.
Smith, op. cit., I, 300.
3Chicago Press and Tribune, Sept. 19, 1858.
following Lincoln's appearance, "Egypt is waking up and
shaking off the political cloud in which it has so long
been enshrouded."I The Republican press showed great faith
in Lincoln's vote .-ettin7 powers by predicting that Logan's
majority might be cut to 5,000, but not even his bitterest
o )ncnts forecast a Logan defeat.2
In late September, Republicans entered an active
candidate against Logan. Wiley, whose business prevented
him from campaigning, withdrew, and .. L. Phillips took
the stump.3 The canvass in the Ninth District was typical
of northwestern politics. Rallies were accompanied by the
usual fights and drinking. Most of the district's towns
raised poles flying flags lettered with the names of their
favorites, and rowdies tried to saw down poles of the
-a iition.4 Usually there were only two poles, but there
were three in the Ninth District, and the trio of candi-
dates hurled charge and counter-charge. The "Danites"
claimed the "now-Not' inr.. were for Lofan, but voters
remembering his scourging of the nativists in 1856 were
1Alton Courier, Oct. 2, 1858.
Chicago Press and Tribune, Oct. 2, 1858.
Alton Courier, Sept. 39, 1 "5.
4Charles B. Johnson, Illinois in the Fifties,
inclined to discount the story. The campaign was to a
great extent a battle of personalities, much of the time
external personalities. The names of Buchanan, Douglas,
and Lincoln appear almost as often as those of the con-
gressional candidates. However the issue of slavery in the
territories, and the negro problem in general did occupy
the three men. Logan pointed out that the Republicans
were in league with the abolitionists and if elected would
bring the feared deluge from across the Ohio. Logan found
himself between his two opponents, and from opposite poles
Republicans and administration men joined in attacking
Logan and Douglas.
These attacks enhanced Logan's popularity. Though
he spent most of his time in his own district, in October
he entered the neighboring Eighth District, and at Salem
joined Silas Bryan and I. N. Haynie in speaking for P. B.
Fouke, Douglasite candidate for Congress. Later, after a
speech at Mound City, that town's paper gave clear insight
into Logan's political personality:
Logan is a popular speaker and seems to have
espoused, certainly so far as this district is con-
cerned, the popular cause. In addition to this, he
is personally popular--is in possession of the
desirable faculty of making himself a lion in the
social circle, as he is acknowledged to be in the
political arena. In him abolitionism finds a foe
who will be satisfied only with "war to the knife,
Cairo Times and Delta, Sept. 29, 1858.
Salem Advocate, Oct. 30, 1858.
and knife to the hilt." His hate for that creed
is bitter and no man knows how to evince a bitter
spirit more completely than John A. Logan.1
Mary accompanied Logan on many of his speaking
tours, and her letters indicate that she was becoming more
easily reconciled to occasional absences. John's letters
reveal that though he thought victory was almost certain,
he regarded the canvass a "hard fight."2
The last great meeting of the contest was the final
Lincoln-Douglas debate held at Alton October 15. Again
the Democrats gathered, but this time Fouke, the Douglas
candidate from the Alton district, was the chief bene-
ficiary of the Little Giant's presence.
Following this debate, Logan concluded his own
campaign. Throughout the canvass he had speculated on
Douglas' chances. He realized the race would be close.
A Republican governor carried the state in 1856 and Lincoln
had the added advantage of divided Democracy. In the
sunmrer, the senator's friends attempted to declare a
truce, but Buchanan refused and John Slidell, Louisiana
senator, and a close Buchanan lieutenant, entered Illinois
to help undermine Douglas. The "Buccaneers" were
Mound City Emporium, Oct. 14, 1858.
I r- Logan to JAL, Oct. 4, 1858; JAL to Mary Logan,
Oct. 3, 1858, Logan Mss.
Richard R. Stenberg, "An Unnoted Factor in the
Buchanan-Douglas Feud," Journal, Illinois State Hist. Soc.,
XXV, No. 4 (Jan., 1933), 273; Milton, op. cit., 346.
particularly active in the close legislative districts,
and it was feared that if too many of them fell, Douglas
might be beaten in the assembly.1
Republicans also brought in outside help. Salmon
P. Chase of Ohio, Frank Blair of Missouri, and Schuyler
Colfax of Indiana joined the stop-Douglas movement. There
was great activity, by all sides, in the crucial central
region. There the election would be decided. Republicans
were conceded a majority in the North and Douglas awarded
Egypt, and a strong swing in either direction in the
region around Springfield could be decisive.2
Careful observers like Logan were inclined to take
other factors into account. Reapportionment had been slow
in Illinois, and the populous north was still dominated
in the legislature by the Democratic south. In addition,
only half the Senate vas to be elected, and though it was
rumored that the "Danites" were trying to influence the
holdovers to abandon Douglas, the senator's forces were
confident of their support.3
November 2, election day, was cold and rainy.
The Republicans later claimed the rain robbed them of
Sheahan, op. cit., 431.
Cole, op. cit., 165.
Cole, op. cit., 179; Milton, op. cit., 351.
victory, but apportionment more than bad weather handed
reelection to Douglas. Though Republicans won the state
offices, and Lincoln outdrew Douglas in total vote, the
legislature was Democratic.
In Egypt almost all the Douglas men were victorious.
Douglas candidates were returned from the two legislative
districts of Lower Egypt, and with the exception of German
St. Clair County, southern Illinois was solidly Douglasite.
Logan's vote was overwhelming. He rolled up 15,878 votes
to 2,796 for Phillips, and less than 200 for Parish. Even
popular John Dougherty, running for state treasurer on the
"Danite" ticket, polled only 1,215 votes in Logan's district.
The "Danites" were crushed, the Republican gain was insig-
nificant, and Logan was swept into office by a 13,000 vote
majority.2 Logan was beaten in only one county of the
sixteen in the Ninth District. In Edwards County, northern-
most of the district, he lost by 120 votes; Bissell had
carried the county by a similar margin two years earlier.
Lo-an did succeed in winning Wabash County, which Bissell
had taken in 1856. In most counties his margin was immense.
Chicago Press and TribUne, Nov. 5, 1858.
Lusk, op. cit., 45; Chicago Press and Tribune,
Nov. 18, 1858. Despite Republican claims of increased
power in lower Egypt, Phillips garnered only 600 more votes
in the Ninth District than Bissell had in 1856, Alton
Courier, Nov. 4, 1858.
Johnson County voted for Logan 1158 to 6.
Victory did not mean an immediate trip to Washing-
ton. The 36th Congress did not convene until December,
1859. John had an entire year before him, and he returned
to the circuit to make a living. The Logans spent a happy
Christmas with John's mother and family in Murphysboro
before he returned to court.
In January Logan went to Springfield to practice.
He remained through February, writing Mary to apologize
for his absence, but advising her, "there may not be so
good an opportunity for us to get some money as now."2
In February Logan was honored by the Democratic state comit-
tee. In appreciation of his speech against Bissell, they
presented him with a gold headed cane inscribed "To John A.
Logan, from his friends for the advocacy of our rights on
the 13th of Januar", 1857."3 This was good news for Mary,
but she had news of her own for John. That winter she
joyfully announced they were going to have another child.
The year was quiet in Illinois politics. Both
parties were working for 1860. The Democrats were certain
that Douglas' victory over Lincoln would win him the presi-
dential nomination, and the Republicans, though depressed
Mary Logan, Reminiscences, 70.
JAL to Mary Logan, Jan. 30, 1859, Logan Mss.
JAL to Mary Logan, Feb. 7, 1859, Logan Mss.
at their loss in the senatorial fight, had been kept alive
by the vigor of Lincoln's campaign. It was also a quiet
political year for Logan, and his time was consumed by his
practice. He defended clients accused of perjury, resisting
arrest, and illegal sale of whiskey. He also defended his
old Mexican War commander, Captain James Hampton, accused
of assault and battery. The practice brought him a fair
living, but like many attorneys he marked many of his
Logan spent a great deal of time in Benton, and
was with Mary when their daughter, named Dorothy after
John's sister, was born. The summer was a pleasant one.
Even during Logan's absences, Mary's letters were happy.
When summer gave way to autumn, however, a new crisis arose.
The baby was too small to stand the trip to Washington,
and what she had hoped would be time together turned into a
long separation. Her disappointment was intense, and the
parting a painful one, but John promised to send for her
as soon as possible. In November he left Benton for
Cincinnati on the first leg of his journey.3
William E. Baringer, "Camoaign Technique in
Illinois, 1860," Transactions, Illinois State Hist. Soc.,
No. 39 (1932), 203.
Ms. legal account book, 1859, Logan Mss.
3JAL to Mary Logan, Nov. 23, 1859, Logan Mss.
In Cincinnati, Logan waited for fellow Congress-
man Phil Fouke for two days. When he failed to arrive,
Logan caught a train for Washington. The trip, Logan's
first into the East, was an interesting experience, espe-
cially a brief stop at Harperp Ferry. It had been little
more than a month since John Brown raided the town, and
bullet holes were still plainly visible. Logan, who bit-
terly condemned Brown, shuddered as he wrote to his wife
after seeing the town. "There is more danger of a rupture
in this government now than [there] has ever been before."1
Logan arrived in Washington November 26, an unknown
freshman congressman from the Northwest. lie was cheered
to hear several Southern congressmen say that Douglas was
the only man to handle the national emergency. For the
moment, however, the state of the union had to take second
place to more practical matters.2 Logan first lodged at
Brown's Hotel where he paid $25 a week. He soon moved to
a more modest rooming house near the capitol, where he
lived with Phil Fouke.3
JAL to Mary Logan, Nov. 27, 1859, Logan Mss.
Ibid. Logan was so obscure that he was listed
in the index of the Congressional Globe as, "Logan, John A.,
a Congressman from Indiana." Cong. Globe, 36th Congress,
1st Session, pt. 1, lvi.
JAL to Mary Logan, Dec. 1, 1859, Logan Mss.
On December 4 his career as a member of the House
began informally in Democratic caucus, where he met many
of his party's leaders and voted for Thomas Bocock, of
Virginia, for speaker. The five Illinois Democrats were
anti-Lecompton men, and though they initially agreed to
back Bocock, they were an unknown quantity in the 36th
Congress. Leading the Douglas ren in the House was John
McClernand, whom John knew but casually from contacts at
political gatherings in Illinois. From Illinois Logan and
McClernand were joined by James Robinson, Isaac Morris,
and Fouke. As he looked about the caucus room Logan saw
the Ohioans, Pendleton, Vallandighaw, and -. S. Cox,
William English of Indiana, and his fellow anti-Lecomp-
tonites, Haskin of New York and Hickman of Pennsylvania.
Also present were the fiery Southerners, Pryor of Virginia,
Keitt of South Carolina, Houston of Alabama, and young,
capable L.7.C. Lamar of Mississippi.
Next day, before packed galleries, the 36th
Congress began its chaotic course. An explosion came
quickly. After one inconclusive vote for speaker, John B.
Clark of Missouri introduced a resolution that any man
who favored the views toward slavery expressed in Kinton
Helper's work, The Impending Crisis, was unfit to be
Cong. Globe, 36th Cong., 1st Sess., pt. 1, 52;
New York Times, Dec. 5, 1859.
speaker. Since the leading Republican candidate, John
Sherman, had endorsed the book, the resolution was obviously
directed at him. The reaction to Clark's proposal made the
already difficult speakership election almost impossible.
Logan favored the Clark resolution. In the attempt to
table the resolution, which failed, Logan voted against
tabling. Across the aisle, Logan listened to hated Republi-
cans locked in combat with Southerners. There was Roscoe
Conkling of New York, Thad Stevens, the club-footed aboli-
tionist from Pennsylvania, and "Honest John" Covode from
the same state. From Ohio, Logan saw Sherman and John
Bingham, and from Indiana Schuyler Colfax, the same Colfax
who had entered Illinois to speak against Douglas in 1858.
He despised these men on principle. But he had more reason
to dislike the four Illinois Republicans. Logan had crossed
them on the stump, and since "no man hated an abolitionist
more than he," the four Republicans, Elihu Washburne, John
Farnsworth, William Kellogg, and Owen Lovejoy, came in for
special abuse from the young Egyptian Democrat.1
The speakership fight was made uncertain by the
close division of the House. There were 109 Republicans,
101 Democrats, and 27 Whigs and Know-Nothings, the latter
holding the balance of powor. The second ballot, shook
Linder, o). cit., 344.
the contest down to a two-way fight between Sherman and
Bocock, with the two minor parties scattering their votes
to prevent a choice. It was obvious to Logan that House
organization would be a long and tedious process, and he
devoted all his spare time to getting his own affairs
organized. He was even forced to hire a boy to help him
until he could get settled.1
On December 7 taking advantage of a lull ih the
speakership fight, Kellogg of Illinois rose to attack the
rumored deal between Horace Greeley, editor of the New
York Tribune, and Senator Douglas. The reported bargain
would have sold out Illinois Republicans in the senatorial
election of 1858. The story was old, frequently denied by
Douglas, and it brought Illinois Democrats to their feet.
Logan tried to get the floor to answer Kellogg, but failed,
and it was McClernand who finally defended the Little
Two days later, Logan got the floor for the first
time. His maiden speech was not a notable example of
parliamentary oratory, but it did not go unnoticed. The
chair recognized the young Democrat with the swarthy skin,
jet black hair, and large drooping mustache, and h s
booming voice made his auditors take notice. Logan began
JAL to Mary Logan, Dec. 6, 1859, Logan Mss.
Cong. Globe, 36th Cong., 1st Sess., pt. 1, 40.
by charging Kellogg with a complete lack of proof of
Douglas' dealings with Greeley. Choking off Kellogg's
interruption, he went on charging that the only reason for
dredging up the old story was to ruin Douglas as a presi-
dential candidate. Logan reminded the House that Kellogg's
cry was, "Republicanism! Abolitionism! Suwardism!"l
Stopping Kellogg's attempted interruption again, his voice
soared as he cried:
I tell the gentleman now, since he has refused
this morning to bring forward his proof, that from
this time forth, I shall never notice it. I scorn
to notice it any further, and the reason for it is
this. I made a charge once, in the legislature of
the State of Illinois, and I stood up and did prove
it, when called upon for proof, and did not shrink
from responsibility, and like a spaniel cower...1
Kellogg leaped up shouting, "Does the gentleman
call me a spaniel coward?" Amid the confusion and shouts
the pair rushed at each other. As Logan prepared to defend
himself, friends held the two apart while the chair gaveled
for order.2 Through the din, Logan demanded to be allowed
to continue, assuring the chair, "I am in no danger of
receiving injury." This brought a demand that provocation
Ibid., 83. The allusion to his own charges are
obviously those made in the Bissell speech.
New York Times, Dec. 10, 1859; Allan Nevins, the
Emergence of Lincoln, 118; Cong. Globe, 36th Cong., 1st
Sess., pt. 1, 83. One student claims Logan drew a pistol
during this altercation, but I have been able to find no
other contemporary or secondary accounts that mention the
pistol. This claim is in, Emerson D. Fite, The Presidential
Campaign of 1860, 43.
cease, and Logan promised to continue in "as mild a temper
as I am capable of." "hen hisses and noise continued, he
defiantly shouted, "If I am to be hissed; if I am to be
cl- *- down or if I am to be intimidated in this Hall,
allow me to say that I have as many rights, whether they
be respected or not as any man on this floor." Farnsworth
of Illinois there asked that the House not be turned into
a "bear garden," and suggested that Logan'? remarks were
out of order. 'hen a semblance of order was restored,
Loan, still on his feet, turned his attack on southern
Democrats who had received Kellogg's accusation with
"smiles and applause." He accused the- of being ungrateful
to Dougla., whose efforts had always been in their behalf.
.hen isked his position on slavery in the territories,
his defense of popular sovereignty received loud a clause
fror the Democratic benches.2
-rr .r.r- to Republican violations of federal law,
he defended the FTuitive Flave Act, and called for rigid
enforcement of that statute. Continuing on the same
subject, he von a nickname:
Every fugitive slave that has been arrested in
Illinois, or in any of the western n states, and I
call Illinois a westernn state, for I am ashamed
longer to call it a Northern state, has been made by
Democrats. In I-linois the D mocrats have all that
Cong'. Globe, 36th -or -., 1st .ess., 7t. 1, 83.