Summary

A veteran of the Mexican-American and Civil wars, as well as a congressman, Logan is credited with the creation of Memorial Day as an designated holiday.

Conflict Period:
Civil War (Union) 1
Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
Brigadier General 1
Rank:
Major General 1
Birth:
09 Feb 1826 2
Murphysboro, Illinois 3
Death:
26 Dec 1886 3
Washington, D.C. 3
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
John Alexander Logan 2
Full Name:
John A Logan 3
Birth:
09 Feb 1826 2
Murphysboro, Illinois 2
Death:
26 Dec 1886 2
Washington, D.C. 2
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Marriage:
Mary Simmerson Cunningham 2
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Civil War (Union) 1

Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
Brigadier General 1
Rank:
Major General 1
Service Start Date:
1862 1
Service End Date:
1865 1
Commands held:
3rd Division, XVII Corps; Military governor of Vicksburg; XV Corps 2

Civil War (Union) 3

Branch:
Army 3
Service Start Date:
1861 1
Service End Date:
1862 1
Company:
F&S 3
Discharge Rank:
Col 3
Enlistment Rank:
Col 3
Military Unit:
31st Infantry 3
State:
Illinois 3

Mexican-American War 1

Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
Second Lieutenant 1
Service Start Date:
1847 1
Service End Date:
1848 1
Unit:
1st Illinois Infantry 1
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Employment:
Employer: Grand Army of the Republic 2
Position: Commander-in-Chief 2
Start Date: 1868 2
End Date: 1871 2
Employment:
Employer: US Senate 2
Position: Senator from Illionois 2
Place: Washington, DC 2
Years: 1871-1877; 1879-1886 2
Employment:
Employer: US House of Representatives 2
Position: Representative from Illinois 2
Place: Washington, DC 2
Start Date: 04 Mar 1867 2
End Date: 04 Mar 1871 2
Employment:
Position: Illinois State Senetor 2
Years: 1852-1853; 1856-1857 4

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Stories

Creation of Memorial Day

Perhaps inspired by unofficial memorial celebrations across the country, John A. Logan—then the commander of the Grand Army of the Republic (a Civil War veterans organization)—proclaimed the creation of Memorial Day (then called Decoration Day) for the first time on 5 May 1868. It was first observed on 30 May of that year, and the first celebration included placing flowers on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery. By 1890, all the Northern states recognized the holiday, and in 1971 the day was officially set as the last Monday in May. The day originally was meant to honor and remember Civil War dead, but after World War I it transformed into a day of remembrance for all war dead.

General Order No.11

Washington, DC

General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868

  1. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

    We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

    If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.

    Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from hishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.

     

  2. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

     

  3. Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.

    By order of

    JOHN A. LOGAN,
    Commander-in-Chief

    N.P. CHIPMAN,
    Adjutant General

    Official:
    WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.

    (Source: http://www.usmemorialday.org/order11.html)

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