General John A. Logan

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General John A. Logan
H. K. Saunders
c. 1845-1924
Oil on canvas
65 x 45 in.
Chicago Public Library
Grand Army of the Republic Collection, gift of H.K. Saunders
SPE GAR 72.269

General John A. Logan has been commemorated as a Civil War hero in many places—Logan Square in Chicago, Logan Circle in Washington, D.C., and a host of other locations bear his name. But at the beginning of the war, his loyalty was a matter of public debate because his family had moved to the Midwest from the South. As a Democratic Party politician, he had supported an Illinois law barring blacks from settling in the state and had defended the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. But when Logan resigned his congressional seat to raise a regiment of Union troops, all doubts about his allegiance were erased. He played leading roles in the Battles of Fort Donelson, Atlanta, and the Carolinas Campaign. After the war, he joined the Republican Party and served as a representative, senator, and vice presidential candidate, as well as head of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). In this life-size portrait, artist Harlan K. Saunders presents Logan standing assertively in full uniform, facing right and clasping a sword in his left hand.

Saunders also served in the Civil War. He fought with the 36th Illinois Volunteer Infantry and was wounded at the Battle of Stones River, Tennessee, in 1862. Although he suffered from those wounds for the rest of his life, he became a successful artist. Saunders donated this painting to the GAR Memorial Hall in the Chicago Public Library.

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