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On June 19, while on the streets of Springfield, Logan and McClernand met a previous acquaintance walking with an officer whom neither had seen before. The man was a newly appointed colonel, placed in command of the 21st Illinois. Though born in Ohio, he was considered one of Illinois' own, spending the past two years of his life in Galena near the northwest corner of the state. He was far from commanding by his presence, average looking, and perhaps a bit disheveled, with a slight 135-pound build covering a five-foot-eight-inch frame. The acquaintance introduced him to the congressmen and, for the first time, Logan shook hands with Colonel Ulysses S. Grant.
Grant's pressing problem in June of 1861 was his new regiment. The 21st Illinois was transitioning from three months' state service to a three-year volunteer United States service. Colonel Grant was concerned that grumbling members of the unit would walk away from their duty; he would know in just a few days, as this was the time to muster the men into protracted service. They were already down to 600 members, and Grant feared that he would not be able to retain half of them in the coming week.
The friend who introduced Grant to the politicians asked Grant if Logan and McClernand could help him by speaking to his disaffected troops. Grant hesitated a moment. He had never met the congressmen before. He had heard much about Logan, but his opinion formed on him was based primarily on negative reports from Illinois' partisan newspapers. Grant admitted that his impressions of Logan "were those formed from reading denunciations of him."...Grant fretted about Logan breaking his silence with an address to his men."I had some doubt as to the effect a speech by Logan might have," remembered Grant about the moment; "but as he was with McClernand, whose sentiments on the all-absorbing questions of the day were well know, I gave my consent."
With that, Logan and McClernand followed Grant to Camp Yates in the Springfield fairgrounds to address his regiment. Officers and men gathered in front of the grandstand at Camp Yates to take in the addresses. McClernand spoke first and, after a fairly short performance, introduced Logan to the troops. Grant paid very close attention to Logan's 0words. No one could fault the colonel if he bit his lip when Logan stepped forward to speak. He was still concerned that Logan would demagogue by haranguing the North in his first public address since February.
Logan rendered Grant's trepidation unnecessary. He began by light-heartedly teasing the men about returning home without fighting a battle, done so in a way to capture their attention rather than alienate them. From there, Logan seized the moment with a forceful and eloquent speech. His words exuded pure patriotism as he spilled his passion about preserving the Union to Grant's unruly regiment. Logan's appeal penetrated the souls of the three-month troops; almost to a man they mustered in as three-year soldiers. An officer of the regiment rated it "a ringingly loyal speech." The most affected member of Grant's regiment was Grant himself. He credited Logan's mesmerizing address as the impetus for near-unanimous enlistmment. "It breathed a loyalty and devotion to the Union," wrote Grant, "which inspired my men to such a point that they would have volunteered to remain in the army as long as an enemy of the country continued to bear arms against it."
Logan did not realize that he had wiped away a poor first impression from one of the most influential people on his subsequent career. No doubt Colonel Ulysses S. Grant offered his most sincere thanks to Logan as the two clasped hands that June afternoon at Camp Yates. Logan left a new admirer at the campsite on the 21st Illinois to oversee an invigorated regiment, neither realizing that this was the first union of a powerful American friendship that would span nearly a quarter of a century.