On June 18th, 1861, the silence of Logan was broken. Coupled by fellow Congressmen John McClernand, John A. Logan arrived at Cairo and enlisted for the Union Army. He then traveled to Marion Illinois, the same place where 34 men, some related to him, had left to join the Confederacy just a few weeks early. Here, Logan gave a speech blaming the radicals of the North, and South for the war, and stating that, “time has come when a man must be for or against his country.” (Morris p. xxviii) The speech was mentioned by Gen. Grant in his memoirs saying that it, “breathed loyalty and devotion to the Union.” (Cross) Logan’s decision was not happily accepted by his neighbors and family.
The crowd at Marion left shocked at Logan’s call to fight for Lincoln, and his own mother, “unbraided him for abandoning his principles.” (Morris p. xvi) Logan’s brother-in-law, Hibert A. Cunnigham was shocked to hear the news on Sept. 1st, 1861 at Columbus, Kentucky. “Hibe” had been sure that Logan would meet up with them in Kentucky, and bring more men from Marion, and the surrounding Egypt area to fight for the Confederacy. However, once Logan made up his mind he stayed the course, recruiting 1,100 men for the 31st Illinois Regiment, and becoming a Colonel in the Union army. Logan would go on to participate in the war’s entire western theater, become a Major General by the war’s end, and later get elected as a Republican United States senator.