John Brown Gordon: Soldier, Southerner, American
John Brown Gordon's career of prominent public service spanned four of America's most turbulent decades. Born in Upson County, Georgia, in 1832, Gordon was a successful businessman when, in 1861, he responded to the Confederate call to arms by raising a company of volunteers. His subsequent rise from captain to corps commander was unmatched in the Army of Northern Virginia. He emerged from the Civil War as one of the South's most respected generals. After the war, Gordon entered politics. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1873 and in the 1880s served as governor of Georgia, establishing himself as a staunch spokesman for his state and for the South as a whole. In addition to safeguarding and promoting southern interests, Gordon strove to replace sectional antagonisms with a commitment to building a stronger, more united nation. His efforts throughout his post war career contributed significantly to the process of national reconciliation. He devoted his final years to writing his memoirs, Reminiscences of the Civil War. Ralph Lowell Eckert's critical biography takes the full measure of Gordon's eventful life. Utilizing newspapers, scattered manuscript collections, and official records, Eckert offers a masterly account of this citizen-soldier of the Civil War era.