John Brown Gordon

Major General

Headstone: Find-a-Grave

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Reference: Alabama Department of Archives & History. Custodian of the original pictures. Confederate Officers photo album.

John Brown Gordon, born in Upson County, Georgia, February 6, 1832, had one of the most spectacular wartime and post-bellum careers of any civilian who fought for the Confederacy. He attended the University of Georgia, but did not graduate, and was trained in the law. In 1861 he was engaged in developing coal mines in the northwest corner of his native state, and at the time had had no previous military training. His army service began with election as captain of a mountaineer company known as the "Raccoon Roughs" and ended as a corps commander at Appomattox. In the interval he fought superlatively on every field in which the Army of Northern Virginia participated, except when he was absent because of wounds. During the battle of Sharpsburg he was so severely wounded in the head that only a bullet hole in his hat prevented his drowning in his own blood as he lay on the ground unconscious. Shortly afterwards, on November 1, 1862, he was promoted brigadier general. He compiled a brilliant record in the Wilderness campaign, May to June 1864, and in the Shenandoah Valley under Jubal A. Early. His promotion to major general dated from May 14, 1864. On the retreat from Petersburg he was in command of one-half of Lee's organized infantry. Returning to Georgia after the surrender, he took up residence in Atlanta and threw himself into the thick of the fight to secure the restoration of home rule to the state. For forty years he was the idol of the people of Georgia. He was three times elected to the United States Senate (1873-80 and 1891-97) and was once governor (1886-90). He wrote Reminiscenses of the Civil War. General Gordon was a prime mover in the organization of the United Confederate Veterans and became its first commander-in-chief, serving from 1890 until his death, January 9, 1904, at Miami, Florida. He is buried in Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.