John Gordon was just 15 years old when he enlisted in Company B, 11th Louisiana Infantry, African Descent on May 8, 1863. He was probably involved in the fighting at Milliken’s Bend, as there is no evidence that he was away sick or on detached service. He remained in the army until his discharge in May 1866.
Gordon had been born in Burr County, North Carolina on Oct. 8, 1847 where he had been a slave of Charlie Irvin. It’s not clear when he came to Mississippi, but at the time of the war was living in Washington County, Mississippi, where he was working as a blacksmith. At the time he joined the Union army, he was the slave of George Falls.
After the war, he lived for nine years in Greenville, Mississippi; from 1875 to 1889 he lived “on a plantation” in Washington County; he moved next to the Richland place until 1893, and then lived on H. H. Hopson’s place in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
He married Lucindy Dorsey on July 4, 1866 in Bolivar County. They had two children, but both died just days after their birth.
John Gordon died on August 6, 1926 in Clarksdale, Coahoma County, Mississippi. At the time of his death, he was working as a blacksmith for H. H. Hopson, and was buried at Hopson’s Chapel. His widow told the county officials that John’s father was a man named Charlie Gordon, but that she did not know the name of John’s mother, and she did not know precisely how old her husband was at the time of his death.
Source: John Gordon “basic documents” pension file WC1551647, (plus special order photograph from pension file), National Archives, Washington, DC.