Wife of General John B Gordon Rallying the Troops at Winchester

lelliott19

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#1
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"Mrs. Gen. Gordon, who was in Winchester, seized the division headquarters flag, and rushing into the street, called upon any of her husband's division to rally round her flag, and that she would lead them. She succeeded in rallying a party of near 200 and sent them to the field." Southern Watchman [Athens, GA], Nov. 2, 1864, page 1.

You've probably heard of this incident - Fanny Haralson Gordon, the wife of Confederate General John Brown Gordon, rallying the retreating troops at Third Winchester on September 19, 1864? Has anyone ever heard that the division headquarters flag was involved?

Either way, General Gordon was mortified that she had exposed herself to such danger and later wrote:
I saw Mrs. Gordon on the streets of Winchester, under fire, her soul aflame with patriotic ardor, appealing to retreating Confederates to halt and form a new line to resist the Union advance. She was so transported by her patriotic passion that she took no notice of the whizzing shot and shell, and seemed wholly unconscious of her great peril.
Reminiscences of the Civil War, John Brown Gordon, C. Scribner's Sons, 1903. p. 42.
 
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WJC

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#2
A great story that deserves more attention than it gets. We tend to think of past generations of women in stereotypes: disinterested in the 'manly arts of politics and war'. It is good to remind ourselves from time to time that women and men- then and now- share the same passion and courage.
 

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Cavalry Charger

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'It requires the direst dangers, especially where those dangers threaten some cause or object around which their affections are entwined, to call out the marvelous courage of women. Under such conditions they will brave death itself without a quiver.'

General John Brown Gordon writing about his wife, marvelling at her courage.

(taken from Donna's link above: https://www.civilwarwomenblog.com/rebecca-fanny-haralson-gordon/)
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#15
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9530042/frances-rebecca-Gordon

Her Find a Grave memorial. Little smitten with this couple. It's a kinda popular trend, complaining about one's spouse. Once went to a doc whose wait time was an hour, so a big pain, because he bragged about his wife and children. Like the Gordons, a close couple. It's just nice, when you bump into it.

I don't know. For all their personal achievements in life, ranking their marriage at the top.
 

Cavalry Charger

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#17
Off topic, but I wonder how he would have reacted if he discovered that there was a woman in one of the ranks under his command?
Also taken from link above:

'Because of Southern custom, she couldn't be a battlefield nurse, but she could stay in the camps while the battles in which John fought were raging nearby.'

I thought this was interesting. Southern custom did not allow for her to be a nurse according to the article. Never mind a soldier. I doubt any woman would have been entertained in the ranks of either army by those in charge, if they knew it was a woman who was fighting.

This is also interesting:

'By this time, the Gordons had two small boys and were operating a coal mining company. Husband and wife struggled with their loyalties to family and country. Gordon wrote in his memoir that Fanny "ended doubt as to what disposition was to be made of her by announcing that she intended to accompany me to the war." She left their children with relatives to free her up for what in her judgment was a higher duty.'

If Southern custom did not allow her to be a nurse, I would have thought it would also frown on her leaving her children to follow after her husband during the war. I admire her, but at the same time could not imagine leaving my children at such a tender age. I am wondering if this was more commonplace, and therefore acceptable, for a number of reasons during this time. At least she knew they were safe, where her husband was not, and she may have felt she was needed more at his side.
 



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