Monday, May 30, 2011

I Am A Soldier Of This Republic

This entry is from Biographical Sketches of Illinois Officers Engaged in the War Against the Rebellion of 1861 (1862) by James Grant Wilson.

The subject is James A. Logan, who eventually became a general during the Civil War.  According to,  Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on  May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

Logan was from Illinois, and this quote is from a letter written to  Hon. O. M. Hatch, Secretary of State, dated August 26, 1862, and read at the Illinois Union Convention, September, 1862, declining to become a candidate for Congress for the State at large.  Logan was going to fight in the war instead.

. . .I express all my views and politics when I assert my attachment for the Union. I have no other politics now, and consequently no aspirations for civil place and power.
No! I am to day a soldier of this Republic, so to remain, changeless and immutable until her last and weakest enemy shall have expired and passed away.
Ambitious men, who have not a true love for their country at heart, may bring forth crude and bootless questions to agitate the pulse of our troubled nation and thwart the preservation of this Union, but for none of such am I .  I have entered the field — to die if needs be — for this Government, and never expect to return to peaceful pursuits until the object of this war of preservation has become a fact established.
Whatever means it may be necessary to adopt, whatever local interest it my affect or destroy, is no longer an affair of mine. If any locality or section suffers or is wronged in the prosecution of the war, I am sorry for it, but I say it must not be heeded now, for we are at war for the preservation of the Union. Let the evil be rectified when the present breach has been cemented forever.. . .
If the South by her malignant treachery has imperiled all that made her great and wealthy, and it was to be lost, I would not stretch forth my hand to save her from destruction, if she will not be saved by a restoration of the Union. Since the die of her wretchedness has been cast by her own hands, let the coin of her misery circulate alone in her own dominions, until the peace of Union ameliorates her forlorn condition.. . .
John A. Logan, from the Library of Congress Collection

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