GORDON, CHARLES G. (1833-1885). British officer instrumental in putting down the Taiping Rebellion, the victory that earned him the moniker “Chinese Gordon.” ALS. (“C.G. Gordon”). 1½pp. 8vo. Southampton, January 17, 1873. To Robson.

“I am glad to hear you are getting on so well. I am sorry that I have so much to do, that it will be impossible to go over the works [?] or to come & see you before I leave for Paris.

I hope your father, mother & family are well & Believe me my dear Robson, Yours sincerely in great haste…”

Gordon, a veteran of the Crimean War, later participated in a mission to survey the border between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. In 1860, he returned to the East when he volunteered to fight in China. He arrived in the midst of the Taiping Rebellion, a bloody civil war in southern China that left roughly 20 million people dead between 1850 and 1864. In 1863, Gordon was placed in command of the Ever Victorious Army, the Quing Dynasty’s force fighting rebels in the south. Under Gordon, the army accomplished many military victories including the capture of the cities of Suzhou and Changzhou.

For his leadership, Gordon was decorated by the emperor as well as Queen Victoria who made him a Companion of the Bath. In 1873, the year of our letter, Gordon accepted a position with Ismail Pasha, the Khedive of Egypt and Sudan, and in the following year he was appointed a colonel in the Egyptian army. Several years later, he was promoted to Governor-General of the Sudan, during which time he dealt with an insurrection in Darfur and a war with Abyssinia. In the 1880s, he returned at the request of the British government to oversee the withdrawal of Egyptian troops from Sudan during the Mahdist War. Gordon died while defending the Sudanese city of Khartoum against Mahdist troops. Public memorials in his honor can be found throughout the British Commonwealth.

Written on a folded sheet which bears a faint blind embossed seal in the upper left corner. Folded, but in very good condition. [indexhistory]

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