Two of my favorite corps-level commanders of the Civil War are Major-Generals John A. Logan and Peter Osterhaus. Both men complied enviable records during the war, particularly on the field of battle. And both men are associated with the Fifteenth Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee – or if you prefer, Major-General William T. Sherman’s Right Wing.
During the Atlanta Campaign, the Fifteenth Corps was Logan’s charge. In September 1864, he took leave and tended to “political” duties. So during the Savannah Campaign, Osterhaus, who’d commanded the first division of the corps through most of the previous campaign, moved up to corps command. And as we have seen, Osterhaus performed well in the role. But among those who arrived at Savannah to rejoin the army was Logan, returning from leave.
This caused a problem for Army/Wing commander Maj0r-General Oliver O. Howard. Two good commanders and one seat. But on January 8, 1865, he communicated the resolution for this issue:
Hdqrs. Department and Army of the Tennessee,
Savannah, Ga., January 8, 1865.
Hon. E. M. Stanton,
Secretary of War:
Dear Sir: Major-General Osterhaus, who has been commanding the Fifteenth Army Corps for the last three months during the temporary absence of General Logan, feeling a delicacy about displacing any one of the admirable division commanders of the corps, has concluded to take a leave of absence, now that General Logan has returned, and to apply for assignment elsewhere at the expiration of the leave. I wish to commend to you again Major-General Osterhaus for a brave, energetic, and faithful soldier. He has been of essential service to me during the last two campaigns, where he added new luster to a reputation already national. If you could assign him to a field of labor suited to his taste and talents, I feel sure that he would honor the Government and perform his trust with assiduity.
With high esteem, I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
O. O. Howard,
With this came the first major change to the lineup of Sherman’s Lieutenants. Logan would led the Fifteenth Corps into the Carolinas.
Of all the pictures of Logan, I prefer this one:
You see the swarthy complexion and black hair which garnered the nickname “Black Jack.” But what I like the most in the portrait is what is hanging on his left side:
That’s the badge of a fighting corps – “Forty Rounds!”
Logan’s post-war career is well known. Less well known is that of Osterhaus. After taking leave, the Prussian-born general returned to service as the Chief of Staff for Major-General Edward Canby, Military Division of West-Mississippi. After the war, Osterhaus served in a couple of diplomatic posts but spent most of the remainder of his life in Germany. And when World War I broke out, Osterhaus was still there… and drawing his army pension. Osterhaus died in January 1917, just months before America’s entry into that war.
(Citation from OR, Series I, Volume 47, Part II, Serial 99, page 25.)