At Fort Doneldson my boys in the Thirty-First fought valiantly! Though we were outgunned, out manned, virtually surrounded, we refused to surrender! From that moment on we were known as the Dirty-first because we never met a battle we backed away from! After a long day of battle, we pushed the Confederates back into the fort and they surrendered. It was our first decisive victory of the war!

During the fight, I was shot in the leg, but it was through and through, so I fought on. A Confederate musket ball hit the butt of my pistol which saved my life, but it broke and damaged a few ribs. When the medic tried to pull me from the field I said NO! As long as my boys were in the fight I needed to be there to lead them. But then a third musket ball tore through my shoulder…

I bled out….I fell from my horse…I had lost so much blood a medic could not find a pulse…The white snow turned crimson red with the blood I lost…I was given up for dead……Do I look like I am dead? When another medic came through kicking the dead and wounded to see who was alive, he found me. He rescued me. I was put on a steamboat, Uncle Sam, which served as Grant’s headquarters.

Can you imagine my wife’s horror when she read the paper a few days later? The biggest boldest headline celebrated our first victory, “The Day is Ours”, but the story that caught her eye was headlined, “The Death of Colonel John A. Logan,” and told of how I gave my life to win the day. Can you imagine her grief? She jumped on a train for Cairo. She met a steamboat captain I had once helped. When he was accused of murder, as a lawyer I had gotten him acquitted, so he owed the family a favor. My wife convinced him to take her across enemy lines, deep into the south, so she could retrieve my corpse for a proper burial. Could you imagine her surprise to find me among the living on that hospital boat?

They were about to amputate my arm, complaining that it was infected and there was nothing they could do to mend it. My wife argued vociferously to save this arm. She saved my life. She brought me home to Egypt and nursed me back to health. But this old shoulder still bothers this old soldier… still gives me pains.


9. Zela