"To tell my own story is to tell that of my famous husband, General John A. Logan," explains Mary S. Logan in the preface to her autobiography.
Married to John A. Logan for thirty-one years, Mary Logan shared in her distinguished husband’s career as a prosecutor in southern Illinois, as a Civil War general, and as a senator from Illinois. She observed firsthand the extraordinary events before, during, and after the Civil War, and she knew personally those world leaders who held the power to shape history. After the death of her husband, she maintained her influence in Washington, D.C. "Under the brightest and darkest skies," she explains, "I have passed than a half-century at the national capital."
Born in 1838, Logan writes of her early days growing up in southern Illinois through 1913, when this book was first published. A skillful observer, she recounts events that are personal, regional, and national in scope. In charming detail, she shares her courtship and subsequent marriage to a young prosecutor from Jackson County and the births of their children. She writes proudly of the Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858 and her husband’s election to the Thirty-seventh Congress that same year. Logan tells of the coming of the Civil War and of her husband—formerly a Democrat and an enemy of Lincoln—casting his fate with the Union and raising a regiment in southern Illinois. She poignantly describes her brother’s defection to the Confederate Army, her life in war-torn Cairo, Illinois, and her horror at her husband’s severe war wounds. She recounts the battles, the political campaigns, and Lincoln’s reelection and subsequent assassination from her point of view—and, as the wife of a politician and general, hers is a decidedly privileged perspective.
In a position to observe and to participate in events ranging from momentous to minute throughout the latter half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, she reports the essential episodes of history with the flair of journalism, a career she in fact embraced after the death of her husband. She writes movingly of a wounded captain on the road to recovery who suddenly died when the minié shifted next to his lung, amusingly of the excuses soldiers invented to wrangle a pass to town, and elegantly of her trips to Europe and of the pomp and circumstance of the parties attended by the great men and women of the time. Drawing on events grand and small, she re-creates history as only a skillful writer who was in the right place at the right time could.