Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The flag weighs 1,200 pounds

The first stop on our July history tour will be the memorial in Grant Park to General John Alexander Logan. Who was Logan? He was the only Union Volunteer in the Civil War to successively command a regiment, a brigade, a division, a corp and finally an army. He never suffered a defeat in battle. He was wounded twice and was awarded the Congressional Medal at Vicksburg.

He was a congressman, lawyer, and a candidate for Vice President with James G. Blaine. He was one of Illinois’ most distinguished leaders. As Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic (1868-1871), General Logan proposed that May 30th be designated as Memorial Day and made a National holiday. He was a member of the Senate when he died, December 26, 1886.

Like so many others the Logan’s came through Northern Ireland on their way to America. Dr. John Logan arrived in America in 1823. He settled in Jackson Co., Illinois, where John Alexander was born.

When General Logan died, Illinois made the first claim to have him buried within the state. The General Assembly appropriated $50,000 to erect a monument. Augustus Saint-Gaudens was chosen as the sculptor. He asked for four years to complete the first model. It was to be an equestrian statue. The model for the horse came from Logan’s own farm, a coal black stallion resembling one of the General's favorite horses. The pedestal dome was designed by the firm of McKim, Mead and White.

The moment portrayed is the battle of Atlanta. General McPherson has just been killed and command of the confused and almost broken line fell to Logan. With the battle flag in his hand and bullets flying everywhere Logan rallied the troops and led them to advance. “It is the Logan of this moment that the statue represents. On the big black horse, the torn battle flag in his hand, with stern determination and self-forgetful courage in his face, he is rallying the disordered ranks.” Mrs Logan chose the anniversary of this date for the dedication in Chicago.

It is the only equestrian work ever designed by Saint-Gaudens and may be the largest equestrian statute in America. From the base to Logan’s head is 15 feet, 11 inches. The horse weighs 5,126 pounds. The flag itself weighs 1,200 pounds and the entire statue weights 14,200 pounds. The base of the statue is 24 feet above Michigan avenue. Inside the mound is a crypt designed for both Mr. and Mrs. Logan. It was never used. They are buried at the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Logan is one of only three individuals mentioned by name in the Illinois state song:

                                    On the record of thy years,
                                    Abraham Lincoln's name appears,
                                    Grant and Logan, and our tears,
                                    Illinois, Illinois,
                                    Grant and Logan, and our tears,
                                    Illinois, Illinois.

Some of the places named for General John Alexander Logan:

     Logan Junior High School in Princeton, IL.
     Logan County, Oklahoma (Guthrie is the county seat)
     Logan Square in Chicago
     Logan Heights in San Diego
     Logan Township, New Jersey
     Logan County in Kansas
     Logan County in North Dakota
     Logan Circle in Washington, D.C. also has a monument
     Logan Museum in Murphysboro, Illinois
     John A. Logan College

The History Tour will take place on July 19, 2014. The luxury charter bus will leave the Scottish Home at 11.30 p.m. For full details click here.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society

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