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Anderson Gordon (1820–1893)

Anderson Gordon was a state legislator, Confederate officer, and participant in the Brooks-Baxter War.

Anderson Gordon was born on February 13, 1820, in Maury County, Tennessee. The son of John Gordon and Nancy Tomlinson Gordon, he spent part of his childhood in Alabama and moved to Arkansas in 1839. The family settled about six miles north of Lewisburg (Conway County). When he was a child, his right hand was partially disabled due to a fever.

Gordon engaged in a number of enterprises in Conway County, including store clerk, grocer, and farmer. He married Lydia Griffin on April 22, 1846, and the couple had ten children, three of whom survived to adulthood. In 1854, he obtained forty acres of land from the Little Rock (Pulaski County) land patent office, and he continued to acquire more land over the next several years.

Gordon became the postmaster of Lewisburg in 1846, and he served two terms in the Arkansas House of Representatives. He also served multiple terms as a justice of the peace. By 1860, Gordon was a wealthy landowner with more than $35,000 of real estate and personal property. In addition to his wife and children, several employees lived in his household, including clerks working in his store and a physician. He also owned twenty-seven slaves to work his expansive land holdings.

Gordon did not enlist in the Confederate army at the beginning of the war but raised a cavalry company in the summer of 1862. He officially mustered into Confederate service on June 14, and his unit became Company B of the Fourth Arkansas Cavalry. Gordon was promoted to major on May 28, 1863, and the regiment participated in the Action at Pine Bluff in Jefferson County on October 25, 1863. Gordon was wounded in the knee during the battle, an injury that would bother him for the remainder of his life.

Promoted to lieutenant colonel the day after the Action at Pine Bluff, he spent time in a hospital in Camden (Ouachita County) before rejoining the unit. Promoted to colonel on December 15, 1863, he took command of the regiment and led it during the Camden Expedition. Part of Brigadier General William Lewis Cabell’s brigade, the regiment saw action at the Engagement at Poison Spring. The brigade lost a total of six killed, thirty-five wounded, and seven missing. The regiment also participated in the Action at Marks’ Mills, in which it lost four killed and nineteen wounded.

The regiment participated in Price’s Raid into Missouri in the fall, and many members of the unit were captured at Mound City and Mine Creek, Kansas. Gordon avoided capture but was wounded in the arm during the campaign. The regiment did not see any more action during the war, and Gordon returned to Conway County at the conclusion of the conflict. Gordon continued to operate his store after his return home and had at least two more children between the end of the war and 1870.

Gordon became involved in the Brooks-Baxter War in 1872. He served as a brigadier general in the Arkansas militia on the side of Elisha Baxter during the conflict, leading both white and black troops in the standoff, though he did not see any action in the conflict. His appointment in the militia at the rank of brigadier general was continued in the administration of Governor Augustus Garland.

After the conflict, Gordon once again returned to Conway County and resumed his mercantile business. He served again as postmaster of Lewisburg from 1879 until its closure in 1882.

Gordon died on February 13, 1893, his birthday, in Morrilton (Conway County). He is buried in the Elmwood Cemetery in Morrilton.

For additional information:
Allardice, Bruce. Confederate Colonels: A Biographical Register. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2008.

“The Late Col. Anderson Gordon.” Arkansas Gazette, February 17, 1893, p. 8.

Speer, William, and John Brown. The Encyclopedia of the New West. Marshall, TX: United States Biographical Publishing Company, 1881.

“Three Score and Ten.” Arkansas Gazette, February 13, 1893, p. 1.

David Sesser
Henderson State University

Last Updated 9/27/2017

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