Black Jack Logan: an extraordinary life in peace and war
He was a dominant player in the politics of the Gilded Age, a three-term senator who was as popular as he was partisan. He was the vice-presidential candidate in the losing race in 1884. Had he not died unexpectedly at the age of sixty, he likely would have become president in 1888. He entered the political scene in 1859 with controversy, a Northern (Illinois) congressman so committed to enforcing the Fugitive Slave laws that abolitionists dubbed him
“Dirty Work” Logan.
The Civil War was the epiphany that changed his political and social philosophy. But more than that, the war made him a star. He changed his philosophy, changed political parties, and fought for the rights of African-Americans and for women’s suffrage. His own Southern-bred mother refused to speak to him for years. He witnessed his first battle as a United States congressman, but became so impassioned with the fury of the fight that he picked up a discarded rifle and battled alongside the foot soldiers. Officially entering the war as a colonel, he served under such legends as Grant and Sherman, and his ostentatious nature and solid leadership on the battlefield earned him rapid promotions and dominant roles in
the decisive campaigns of the war. By 1865 he was a major general leading an army, considered the best volunteer soldier that the war produced.
He may be the most noteworthy nineteenth-century American to escape the notice of the twentieth century. His name is John Alexander Logan, known in his time as Black Jack Logan, and this, finally, is the book he deserves.
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