Alexander Gordon (British staff officer)

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Monument to the memory of Gordon on the Waterloo battlefield. The designer was John Papworth

Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Alexander Gordon KCB (1786–1815), was a British Army officer who was killed at the Battle of Waterloo.[1][a] His correspondence was collated and published early in the early 21st century.


Gordon was the third son of George Gordon, Lord Haddo, son of George Gordon, 3rd Earl of Aberdeen, and Charlotte.[2] His brothers were Prime Minister George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen, and Sir Robert Gordon. He joined the military campaign against Napoleon during the Battle of Corunna in 1808 as the Aide-de-camp to his uncle, General Sir David Baird, 1st Baronet. He then became ADC to Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington for the next six years, until he was killed at Waterloo.


Gordon received brevet promotions to Major and Lieutenant-Colonel as a reward for carrying to London despatches announcing victory, first at the Battle of Corunna and then at Ciudad Rodrigo. After Bonaparte's exile to Elba in 1814, Gordon was made a KCB. He was mortally wounded at Waterloo while rallying Brunswickers near La Haye Sainte, and died in Wellington's own camp bed in his headquarters during the night.

The following is an account by John Robert Hume who was visiting the Duke of Wellington after the Battle of Waterloo,

Wellington wrote to Lord Aberdeen after his brother's death,


The bed in which Gordon died is preserved at the Wellington Museum, Waterloo.


A monument to Gordon, in the form of a severed column, was erected on the battlefield in 1817.


  • Rory Muir, ed. (2003). At Wellington's right hand: the letters of Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Alexander Gordon, 1808-1815 (illustrated ed.). Sutton. ISBN 0-7509-3380-1. "This volume comprises the letters written to his brother, Lord Aberdeen, later foreign secretary, and prime minister during the Crimean war, and Aberdeen’s replies, ... They form an almost continuous narrative of the campaigns, and often reveal more of the thinking behind operations than do the duke’s own despatches".[5]


  1. ^ Not to be confused with Alexander Gordon (1781–1873), an illegitimate son of this man's grandfather who was also a British officer in the Peninsular War.(Muir 2003, p. viii)
  1. ^ Muir 2003, p. 404–407.
  2. ^ Lundy 2011, p. 2471 § 24705 cites Cokayne 2000, pp. 15–16
  3. ^
  4. ^ Wellesley, Arthur (1st Duke of Wellington). "Wellington's Dispatches: June 19th, 1815: To Earl Bathurst. 'Waterloo, 19th June' 1815". War Times Journal. Retrieved September 2011. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  5. ^ Mallinson 2004.


  • Lundy, Darryl (24 January 2011). "George Gordon, Lord Haddo". pp. 2471 § 24705. Retrieved September 2011. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help) This source cites:
    • Cokayne, G.E.; et al. (2000). The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959). 1 (reprint in 6 volumes ed.). Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing. pp. 15–16.
  • Muir, Rory (2003). At Wellington's right hand: the letters of Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Alexander Gordon, 1808-1815 (illustrated ed.). Sutton. ISBN 0-7509-3380-1.
  • Mallinson, Allan (6 March 2004). "Book Reviews: Full, frank and fraternal". The Spectator.[permanent dead link]

Further reading[edit]

  • Paul, Sir James Balfour (1904). The Scots Peerage: founded on Wood's edition of Sir Robert Douglas's The Peerage of Scotland. 1. Edinburgh, Scotland: David Douglas. p. 93.