GOLD PRESENTATION MEMORIAL MEDAL FOR GENERAL JOHN A. LOGAN

$2,500.00

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Item Code: 30-2208

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Mounted on a black mourning ribbon this beautiful gold medal has a pin-back upper bar and also a small spring clasp for wear as a watch fob. The upper bar has a floral scroll at top and concave ends, and reads in large raised letters, “FIDELITY.” The planchet has an outer border with serrated edges and blue enamel band with gold lettering reading: “JOHN A. LOGAN / BORN FEB. 9. 1826. DIED DEC.26.1886.” The central panel bears a portrait bust of the mustachioed Logan facing left on an impressive background of sunburst rays. The reverse is beautifully inscribed, with scrolls and flourishes: “Presented / by / Mrs. John A. Logan / and / Mrs. Mary Logan Tucker / in grateful and loving  /remembrance of your / life long Friendship / to Genl. Logan.”

The recipient is not named, but from the inscription, “fidelity” on the suspension bar refers as much to his fidelity to Logan as to Logan’s to duty, country, or veterans. Logan, of course, was both an Illinois politician and a capable Civil War general who ran unsuccessfully for Vice President in 1884. He was very prominent in veterans’ affairs, being a member of MOLLUS and serving as commander of the G.A.R. from 1868 to 1871. He also led the call for Memorial Day to be a national holiday.

Logan gained a law degree in 1851 and entered Illinois politics as a Democrat, serving as a state representative. He was elected a U.S. representative in 1858 and 1860. After the war, however, he changed parties and was elected U.S. senator and became part of the “radical” wing of the Republican party, managing the impeachment of Andrew Johnson and helping to block efforts to overturn the courtmartial conviction of Fitz John Porter. (This may have rehabilitated him somewhat from his early support in Illinois of a bill banning African-Americans from settling in the state.)

Logan had some military experience before the Civil War, serving as a 1st lieutenant in an Illinois regiment in the Mexican War. At First Bull Run in 1861 he served as an unattached volunteer. Gaining a commission as colonel of the 31st Illinois, he then fought under Grant at Belmont and Fort Donelson, where he was wounded. He resigned from congress in April 1862 to take a commission as brigadier general and, although plainly a “political general,” showed ability on the battlefield, commanding a brigade and then a division in the Army of the Tennessee, gaining promotion to major general in late 1862. At Vicksburg he commanded a division under McPherson, and later took over the 15th Corps from Sherman. At Atlanta he commanded the Army of the Tennessee for a brief period after McPherson’s death, took a break for some electioneering in Illinois, and returned to command of the 15th Corps in the Campaign of the Carolinas. Grant thought enough of him to send him to replace Thomas at Nashville, though Thomas attacked and defeated Hood first.

After his death, Logan lay in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda and was memorialized with a number of locations named after him and statues in Washington, D.C. and Chicago. As the presentation on the medal testifies, his family perpetuated his memory as a political and military hero. His son changed his name to John A. Logan, Jr., and his daughter, one of the presenters of this medal, went on to a career as a political gadfly in Washington, opposing women’s suffrage, pacificism, and anything she deemed unpatriotic or insufficiently respectful of American heroes.

This is a beautiful and impressive medal with a great background in military and political history that would add greatly to a military or political collection.  [sr]

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