James Byron Gordon

Contributed by: Diane Siniard

Name: James Byron Gordon 
State Served: North Carolina  
Highest Rank: Brig-Gen  
Birth Date: 1822 
Death Date: 1864 
Birth Place: Wilkesboro, North Carolina 
Army: Confederacy  
Promotions: Promoted to Full 1st Lieut
Promoted to Full Captain
Promoted to Full Major (9th NC Cav)
Promoted to Full Lt Colonel
Promoted to Full Brig-Gen
Promoted to Full Major-Gen (Temporary)  
Biography: GORDON, JAMES B.

Major, Ninth North Carolina Volunteers (cavalry), May 8,
Lieutenant colonel, Ninth North Carolina Cavalry, March 1,
Brigadier general, P. A. C. S., September 5, 1863. Major
general, P. A. C. S. (temporary rank), May 14, 1864.

Killed at Yellow Tavern, Virginia, May 11, 1864.


Brigade composed of the First, Second, Third, Fourth and
Fifth North Carolina Regiments Cavalry, W. H. F. Lee's
Division, Army of Northern Virginia.

Source: General Officers of the Confederate States of America

Brigadier-General James B. Gordon was born November 2, 1822,
at Wilkesboro, Wilkes county, N. C., where his ancestors had
made their home for four generations since the coming of John
George Gordon from Scotland about the year 1724.

In childhood he attended the school of Peter S. Ney, in
Iredell county, afterward studied at Emory and Henry college,
Va., and then engaged in mercantile business at his native
town. He was a leader in local politics and sat in the
legislature in 1850.

At the first organization of troops in 1861 he became a
lieutenant in the Wilkes county guards, which became Company B
of the First regiment, State troops, with Gordon as captain.
Soon afterward he was commissioned major of the First cavalry,
and went to the front in Virginia, where the regiment under
command of Col. Robert Ransom was assigned to the brigade of
Gen. J. E. B. Stuart.

On November 26, 1861, he gallantly led the charge in the first
encounter of his regiment with the Federal cavalry, which was
also the first engagement of Stuart's brigade with the same
arm of the enemy, and was entirely successful. Thereafter he
was among the foremost in every fight, and was frequently
commended for bravery in the reports of Stuart.

In the spring of 1862 he was promoted lieutenant-colonel of
his regiment, which was assigned to Wade Hampton's brigade.
He commanded the detachment which took part in Hampton's raid
on Dumfries in December, and in the spring of 1863 was
commissioned colonel.

In the fight at Hagerstown during the retreat from Gettysburg,
a charge of the enemy was gallantly met and repulsed by Gordon
with a fragment of the Fifth cavalry, "that officer exhibiting
under my eye individual prowess deserving special
commendation," Stuart reported.

In September, 1863, he was promoted brigadier-general and
assigned to command of the North Carolina cavalry brigade,
with which he defeated the enemy at Bethsaida church October
10th, and at Culpeper Court House, and took a prominent part
in the fight at Auburn, where Colonel Ruffin was killed and he
was painfully wounded, but "continued, by his brave example
and marked ability, to control the field, " and two days after
commanded in a fight on Bull run.

He led the center in the "Buckland races," driving Kilpatrick
before him, and during the Mine Run campaign took an active
part, his horse being shot under him at Parker's store.

In the memorable campaign of May, 1864, Gordon's outposts were
the first to meet the enemy as he crossed the Rapidan, and he
fought against Grant's army until the battle lines were drawn
at Spottsylvania, when the cavalry hastened to cut off
Sheridan's raid upon Richmond.

On the 11th Stuart fell at Yellow Tavern, and Gordon, having
defeated the enemy at Ground Squirrel church on the 10th,
sustained the attack of Sheridan's corps in force at Meadow
bridge in sight of Richmond, May 12th.

He fought with reckless daring, inspiring his men to such
exertions that they held the enemy in check until
reinforcements could come up. The capital was saved, but the
gallant Gordon was borne from the field mortally wounded.

On May 18th he died in hospital at Richmond, deeply lamented
by the army.

Source: Confederate Military History, vol. V, p. 312

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