1902 Encyclopedia > Patrick Gordon

Patrick Gordon
Russian general

PATRICK GORDON, (1635-1699), of Auchleuchries, a Russian general, was descended from a Scotch family of Aberdeenshire, who possessed the small estate of Auchleuch-ries, and were connected with the house of Haddo. He was born in 1635, and after completing his education at the parish schools of Cruden and Ellon, entered, in his fifteenth year, the Jesuit college at Braunsberg, Prussia; but, as " his humour could not endure such a still and strict way of living," he soon resolved to return home. He changed his mind, however, before re-embarking, and after journeying on foot in several parts of Germany, ultimately, in 1655, enlisted at Hamburg in the Swedish service. In the course of the next five years he served alternately with the Poles and Swedes as he was taken prisoner by either. In 1661, after changing his resolution more than once, he took service in the Russian army under Alexis I., and in 1666 he was sent on a special mission to England. After his return he distinguished himself in several wars against the Turks and Tartars in southern Russia, and in recognition of his services he in 1678 was made major-general, in 1679 was appointed to the chief command at Kieff, and in 1683 was made lieutenant-general. He visited England in 1686, and. after his return to Russia, he in 1687 and 1689 took part as quartermaster-general in the expeditions against the Crim Tartars in the Crimea. On the breaking out of the revolu-tion in Moscow in the latter year, Gordon with the troops he commanded virtually decided events in favour of the czar Peter I., and against the czarina Sophia. He was therefore during the remainder of his life in high favour with the czar, who confided to him the command of his capital during his absence from Russia, employed him in organizing his army according to the European system, and latterly raised him to the rank of general-in-chief. He died November 29, 1699. The czar, who had visited him frequently during his illness, was with him when he died, and with his own hands closed his eyes.

General Gordon left behind him a diary of his life, written in Eng-lish. Several of those parts of the diary connected with the military history of Russia were at an early period translated into German— then the literary language of St Petersburg—but never printed, although made use of for various other works. A complete German translation, by Prince M. A. Kolenski and Mr M. C. Powell, was published, the first volume at Moscow in 1849, the second at St Petersburg in 1851, and the third at St Petersburg in 1853; and Passages from the Diary of General Patrick Gordon of Auchleuchries, 1635-1699, was printed, under the editorship of Joseph Robertson, for the Spalding Club, Aberdeen, 1859.

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