Patriotic Address of Gen. John A. Logan.
My Fellow Soldiers:
Debility from recent illness has prevented and still prevents me from appearing amongst you, as has been my custom, and is my desire. It is for this cause I deem it my duty to communicate with you now, and give you the assurance that your General still maintains unshaken confidence in your patriotism, devotion, and in the ultimate success of our glorious cause.
I am aware that influences of the most discouraging and treasonable character, well calculated and designed to render you dissatisfied, have recently been brought to bear upon some of you by professed friends. Newspapers, containing treasonable articles, artfully falsifying the public sentiment at your homes, have been circulated in your camps. Intriguing political tricksters, demagogues, and timeservers, whose corrupt deeds are but a faint reflex of their corrupt hearts, seem determined to drive our people on to anarchy and destruction. They have hoped, by magnifying the reverses of our arms, basely misrepresenting the conduct and slandering the character of our officers in the field, and boldly denouncing the acts of the constituted authorities of the Government as unconstitutional usurpations, to produce general demoralization in the army, and thereby reap their political reward, weaken the cause we have espoused, and aid those arch traitors of the South to dismember our mighty Republic and trail in the dust the emblem of our National unity, greatness and glory. Let me remind you, my countrymen, that we are Soldiers of the Federal Union, armed for the preservation of the Federal Constitution and the maintenance of its laws and authority. Upon your faithfulness and devotion, heroism and gallantry depend its perpetuity. To us has been committed this sacred inheritance, baptized in the blood of our fathers. We are soldiers of a Government that has always blessed us with prosperity and happiness.
It has given to every American citizen the largest freedom and the most perfect equality of rights and privileges. It has afforded us security in person and property and blessed us until, under its beneficent influence, we were the proudest Nation on earth.
We should be united in our efforts to put down a rebellion, that now, like an earthquake, rocks the Nation from State to State from center to circumference, and threatens to engulph us all in one common ruin, the horrors of which no pen can portray. We have solemnly sworn to bear true faith to this Governmenment, preserve its Constitution and defend its glorious flag against all its enemies and opposers. To our hands has been committed the liberties, the prosperity and happiness of future generations. Shall we betray such a trust? Shall the brilliance of your past achievements be dimmed and tarnished by hesitation, discord and dissension, whilst armed traitors menace you in front and unarmed traitors intrigue against you in the rear? We are in no way responsible for any action of the civil authorities. We constitute the military arm of the Government. That the civil power is threatened and attempted to be paralyzed, is the reason for resort to the military power. To aid the civil authorities (not to oppose or obstruct) in the exercise of their authority is our office, and shall we forget this duty, and stop to wrangle and dispute over this or that political act or measure, whilst the country is bleeding at every pore; whilst a fearful wail of anguish, wrung from the heart of a distracted people, is borne upon every breeze, and widows and orphans are appealing to us to avenge the loss of their loved ones who have fallen by our side in defence of the old blood-stained banner and whilst the Temple of Liberty itself is being shaken to its very center by the ruthless blows of traitors, who have desecrated our flag — obstructed our national highways, destroyed our peace, desolated our firesides, and draped thousands of homes in mourning?
Let us stand firm at our posts of duty and honor, yielding a cheerful obedience to all orders from our superiors, until by our mutual efforts the Stars and Stripes shall be planted in every city, town and hamlet in the rebellious States. We can then return to our homes and through the ballot-box peacefully redress all our wrongs, if any we have.
Whilst I rely upon you with confidence and pride, I blush to confess that recently some of those who were once our comrades in arms have so far forgotten their honor, their oaths and their country, as to shamefully desert us, and skulkingly make their way to their homes, where like culprits, they dare not look an honest man in the face. Disgrace and ignominy (if they escape the penalty of the law) will not only follow them to their dishonored graves, but will stamp their names and lineage with infamy to the latest generation. The scorn and contempt of every true man will ever follow those base men who, forgetful of their oaths, have, like cowardly spaniels, deserted their comrades in arms in the face of the foe, and their country in the hour of its greatest peril. Every true-hearted mother or father, brother, sister or wife, will spurn the coward who would thus not only disgrace himself, but his name and his kindred. An indelible stamp of infamy should be branded upon his cheek, that all who look upon his vile countenance may feel for him the contempt his cowardice merits. Could I believe that such conduct found either justification or excuse in your hearts, or that you would for a moment falter in your glorious purpose of saving the Nation from threatened wreck and hopeless ruin, I would invoke from Deity as the greatest boon, a common grave to save us from such infamy and disgrace.
The day is not far distant when traitors and cowards, North and South, will cower before the indignation of an outraged people. March bravely onward! Nerve your strong arms to the task of overthrowing every obstacle in the pathway of victory until with shouts of triumph the last gun is fired that proclaims us a United People under the old flag and one Government! Patriot Soldiers! This great work accomplished, the reward for such service as yours will be realized; the blessings and honors of a great people will be yours.