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Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon

 
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All Forums >> [Current Games From Matrix.] >> [American Civil War] >> Forge of Freedom: The American Civil War 1861-1865 >> Generals' Biographies Project >> Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon Page: [1]
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Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon - 11/14/2007 4:48:32 PM   
jkBluesman


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Maj. Gen. John Brown Gordon (b. 1832, d. 1904). Without military experience Gordon – a brilliant orator – became one of the most inspiring leaders of Confederate troops. Some historians even call him the best regimental commander of the South. Born in Upson County, Georgia he grew up on his family's plantation. He entered Franklin College (today University of Georgia) and became a good student. However, without giving explanations he left college before graduation. He passed the bar examination in Atlanta, practised law and became involved in his father's mine business in Tennessee. A proslavery Democrat, he supported secession after Abraham Lincoln became president in 1860. When the Civil War started in mid-April 1861, Gordon raised the "Raccoon Roughs", a company which he led as its captain. It became part of the 6th Alabama Regiment and was sent to Virginia in June. Gordon saw no action at First Manassas but witnessed the Federal retreat. Promoted to colonel in April 1862, he led his regiment into its first charge at Seven Pines the next month. Though suffering 60 percent casualties, the regiment fought on in the Seven Days. In the Maryland campaign in fall, Gordon fought notably at South Mountain. He was wounded five times at Antietam while holding the Confederate center before being carried off the field. But he recovered and "the brightest star in (Gen. Robert) Rodes' Brigade" - as Gen. Cullen Battle called him - returned to duty in April 1863. He was given a brigade in Gen. Jubal Early's division, led it at Chancellorsville and was promoted to brigadier general on May 6 – the day after the battle was over. In the ensuing invasion of Pennsylvania, Gordon's brigade was in the lead, playing an important role at Second Winchester in June and thus helped to regain the Shenandoah Valley for the South, vital as source of reinforcements and used as route of invasion. At Gettysburg, Gordon's men spearheaded the successful attack by Richard S. Ewell's corps on the Union XI corps on the first day but remained inactive for the rest of the battle. In the Overland campaign of 1864, Gordon fought remarkably in the Wilderness. When he received news of the chance for a turning movement, he tried to get reinforcements. But Ewell could not spare more than one brigade which was only enough for local success. However, Gordon got the attention of army commander Gen. Robert E. Lee who gave him temporarily command of a division and supported his promotion to major general (confirmed on May 14). Gordon played a prominent role at Spotsylvania Court House where his counterattack after the loss of the salient "Mule Shoe" saved the Army of Northern Virginia. In mid-June, Gordon – now permanent division commander – was sent to the Shenandoah Valley as part of Early's corps. At Monocacy on July 9, Gordon's attack secured the Confederate victory and opened the way to Washington. However, the Federals had bought enough time to reinforce the forts around the capital and the Southerners had to retreat. Gordon stayed in the valley until Early got defeated by Gen. Philip Sheridan and returned to Petersburg in December. He was given what was left of Early's corps, but his nomination for lieutenant general was never confirmed. An ill-planned and executed assault on Fort Stedman in March 1865 was Gordon's last offensive operation during the war. He commanded the rear-guard after the retreat from Petersburg and was one of three Confederate officers who oversaw the surrender of the army at Appomattox Court House on April 9. After the war, he ran unsuccessful for governor of Georgia in 1868, was elected senator three times (1873, 1878, 1891) and served as governor from 1886-1890. He opposed Radical Reconstruction, supported white rule in the South and was very likely one of the founders of the Klu-Klux-Klan in his home state. He was the first commander-in-chief of the United Confederate Veterans and held that post until his death. Gordon was buried in Atlanta's Oakland Cemetery.

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< Message edited by jkBluesman -- 11/22/2007 11:43:36 AM >
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RE: Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon - 11/14/2007 4:55:32 PM   
jkBluesman


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I think he was worth my 400th post. An interesting character. Again a maximum bio, but I believe Gordon might be considered as 25 percenter if the number of them will be enlarged. The "Raccoon Roughs" might be another LU.
For those interested: Gordon's memoires are online.



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RE: Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon - 11/16/2007 10:37:29 PM   
Battleline


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Another fine bio, sir!
I know Gordon and Cullen Battle were regimental commanders together in the Alabama brigade of Robert Rodes. I will have to see what Cullen Battle wrote about Gordon and if he had something quoteable. That brigade was blessed with some solid regimental commanders. I believe Rodes led the 5th Alabama before he was promoted. Gordon had the 6th (and was very solid at South Mountain and Sharpsburg, Antietam to the Yankees), O'Neal earned much praise in charge of the 26th (before his failed stint at Gettysburg as a brigade commander) and Battle had the 3rd.
A tale of Gordon I have found in several different places is this: At Sharpsburg (Antietam), the Alabama Brigade of Rodes was holding the Sunken Road, or as it later came to be called, "Bloody Lane." After the line opened by a miscommunication, the Confederate line was infiltrated by Federal troops. Gordon was wounded and rendered unconscious and fell into his own hat. Only a bullet hole in the hat kept him from literally drowning in his own blood.
Battleline

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RE: Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon - 11/17/2007 12:51:34 AM   
marecone


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quote:

ORIGINAL: jkBluesman

I think he was worth my 400th post. An interesting character. Again a maximum bio, but I believe Gordon might be considered as 25 percenter if the number of them will be enlarged. The "Raccoon Roughs" might be another LU.
For those interested: Gordon's memoires are online.




Another excellent bio. Thanks for this great link too. Do you know about any other online free books? Link perhaps

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RE: Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon - 11/17/2007 4:22:09 PM   
jkBluesman


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Battleline

Another fine bio, sir!
I know Gordon and Cullen Battle were regimental commanders together in the Alabama brigade of Robert Rodes. I will have to see what Cullen Battle wrote about Gordon and if he had something quoteable. That brigade was blessed with some solid regimental commanders. I believe Rodes led the 5th Alabama before he was promoted. Gordon had the 6th (and was very solid at South Mountain and Sharpsburg, Antietam to the Yankees), O'Neal earned much praise in charge of the 26th (before his failed stint at Gettysburg as a brigade commander) and Battle had the 3rd.
A tale of Gordon I have found in several different places is this: At Sharpsburg (Antietam), the Alabama Brigade of Rodes was holding the Sunken Road, or as it later came to be called, "Bloody Lane." After the line opened by a miscommunication, the Confederate line was infiltrated by Federal troops. Gordon was wounded and rendered unconscious and fell into his own hat. Only a bullet hole in the hat kept him from literally drowning in his own blood.
Battleline


Thank you. I think Gordon led the brigade during the Seven Days for some time because Rodes was wounded.
I have read the story about Gordon getting wounded at Antietam. The whole thing can be found at Wikipedia. It is said that he only recovered because his wife nursed him back to life.
There are so many good stories about Gordon and if we had more space in the bios, I would have written much more, but maybe if you find a good quote from Cullen Battle, we can get it in there.

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RE: Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon - 11/17/2007 4:30:41 PM   
jkBluesman


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quote:

ORIGINAL: marecone

Another excellent bio. Thanks for this great link too. Do you know about any other online free books? Link perhaps


I know that Grant's personal memoirs are online as well. His friend James Longstreet wrote his to defend his record (as do most politicans or generals, what Grant does to Thomas in his text is shameful), so they are not very reliable, but can be found here, Sherman's here. I am sure there are more out there, easy to find. What I do not know, is whether the used editions are recomandable. As a historian, I would always prefer well edited versions. But those are only for free (or almost) in librarys, I know.

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RE: Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon - 11/17/2007 11:38:31 PM   
marecone


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quote:

ORIGINAL: jkBluesman


quote:

ORIGINAL: marecone

Another excellent bio. Thanks for this great link too. Do you know about any other online free books? Link perhaps


I know that Grant's personal memoirs are online as well. His friend James Longstreet wrote his to defend his record (as do most politicans or generals, what Grant does to Thomas in his text is shameful), so they are not very reliable, but can be found here, Sherman's here. I am sure there are more out there, easy to find. What I do not know, is whether the used editions are recomandable. As a historian, I would always prefer well edited versions. But those are only for free (or almost) in librarys, I know.


Thank you again. I did read Grant's memoirs and enjoyed it. Will start reading right now. And then I guess that after 20 years of interest in ACW it is time to buy my first book.

Godspeed

_____________________________

"I have never, on the field of battle, sent you where I was unwilling to go myself; nor would I now advise you to a course which I felt myself unwilling to pursue."

Nathan Bedford Forrest

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RE: Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon - 11/18/2007 7:58:53 PM   
Gil R.


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You know, a discussion of Civil War memoirs would make for a good thread out in the main part of the forum, since not everyone checks these bio threads.

And I've copied the bio, but can recopy it if any changes based on the discussion above are made. Thanks!

(Also, I'll make him a 25-percenter, as suggested.)


< Message edited by Gil R. -- 11/18/2007 8:00:30 PM >


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RE: Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon - 11/22/2007 1:01:01 AM   
Battleline


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Been fishing through "Third Alabama."
Gordon is referenced many times. This might be the best:
"Following the disastrous battle of Cedar Creek, Gordon was appointed to the Command of the Second Corps, which had been successively commanded by Jackson, Ewell and Early. That he was worthy to wear the mantle of Stonewall Jackson is the judgment of his Countrymen. Our language is not capable of conveying a higher compliment."

On the attack against Fort Steadman:
"His command was the remnant of Jackson's Corps, troops often tried in the fiery ordeal of battle and always found true. The attack was the climax of chivalry. It was successful, but there were not troops enough to hold the fort after it had been taken."

At Sharpsburg:
"Gordon was on the right of the brigade with his splendid 6th Alabama. Five times he was wounded by the enemy's bullets before he would leave the field. His promotion quickly followed, and the brightest star in Rodes' Brigade was translated to another (more splendid) galaxy where he shone 'sovereign of the ascendant.' "

Sorry so tardy!
Hope that helps.
Battleline

< Message edited by Battleline -- 11/22/2007 1:02:13 AM >

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RE: Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon - 11/22/2007 11:42:50 AM   
jkBluesman


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Thank you, no need to rush anyway. I would have loved to use at least two of the quotes. But as there is not that much space left, I decided to use only the "brightest star". I hope you do not mind.
So Gil, I made changes. And when you read Heidler for the editing you will find the promotion date of November 1862. But this was not confirmed (probably because he was on the sick list) that's why I only mention Gordon's promotion to brigadier general in May 1863.

< Message edited by jkBluesman -- 11/23/2007 11:21:36 AM >


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RE: Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon - 11/28/2007 1:51:40 AM   
Battleline


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As for Gordon's promotion to brigadier general, Warner's "Generals in Gray" lists Nov. 1, 1862.
GIG concurs with your date for the major general promotion.

On a side note, I'm looking forward to starting to crank out some bios again myself!

Battleline

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RE: Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon - 11/28/2007 10:26:17 AM   
jkBluesman


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And I am looking forward to reading them. My source for the promotion in May 1863 is "Warrior Generals" by Thomas B. Buell and civilwarhome.com. The latter gives November 1862 as the first time Gordon was promoted but says it was not confirmed. Unfortunatly I could not find any date given by Gordon himself in his memoirs, but that might be due to false search terms I used (pdf is great) or false paragraphs I read.

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"War is the field of chance."
Carl von Clausewitz

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RE: Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon - 12/8/2007 4:50:42 AM   
Gil R.


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Okay, recopied. Let me know if you make further changes.


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