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Charles Gordon – A Pious Military Man

Charles Gordon was born in Woolwich, London in 1883. His father was a Royal Artillery officer, who fathered 5 girls and 6 boys.

Charles George Gordon
Charles George Gordon

Gordon’s elder sister, Augusta, was the one who initiated the faith in Lord Jesus Christ in Gordon.

Early Military Life

In 1848, Charles Gordon intended to enter the Royal Military Academy as a Gentlemen Cadet. His lack of discipline forced him to graduate in 1852 as a second lieutenant in the Corps of Royal Engineers.

He showed strong charisma and leadership skills but had a tendency not to follow orders if he felt they were wrong or unjust. Initially posted to the Engineers depot at Brompton near Gillingham, Charles Gordon was then posted to Pembroke Dock in Wales.

Developing Faith in Christ

In Pembroke Dock, Charles Gordon was converted to Christianity under the ministry of a comrade Engineer officer, who later became one of his closest friends.

Charles George Gordon
General Charles Gordon

In his initial days, Gordon did not show any keen interest to spread the gospel, but his letters to his sister hint at the desire to die and be with the Lord.

Leadership in Crimea

In 1854, Gordon was posted to Crimea.  He built huts as winter quarters for the troops. He managed to get a perilous frontline job at the Russian trenches.

Gordon lost many young engineer officers there. He felt guilty surviving the bloodshed, however, the French later awarded him for his bravery.

‘Chinese Gordon’

In 1860, Gordon volunteered to serve in China as a part of the Allied Expeditionary Force that was taking part in the Second Opium War. He was appointed as the Commander of the ‘Ever Victorious Army,’ led by the European officers.

Gordon brought discipline into the force and led them into battle from the front carrying only a walking stick. In 1864, the Taipings surrendered to Gordon when he offered them a truce.

Charles Gordon Celestiale Titu

When Gordon was away, Manchus had the Wangs, the leaders of the Taipings, executed. This made Gordon angry and he resigned immediately. His incorruptible nature was evident when he refused an offer of 100,000 gold pieces offered by the emperor.

He came to be known as ‘Chinese Gordon’ in England. He was later to be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and he became a ‘Companion of Honour.’

Metamorphosis in Gravesend

Gordon was posted to Gravesend in 1865 as the Commandant of Engineers. Immediately after his arrival in Gravesend, Gordon lost his father and one of his brothers. This had an effect on Gordon and it changed him.

He started doing social work after completing his duties. He started attending all of the churches at one time or another. His time in Gravesend was fulfilling as he gave away most of his earnings to the elderly.


In 1871, he was promoted to a full colonel and became the British commissioner on the Danube Commission. This was followed by a string of responsibilities. In 1874, he was appointed as the Governor-General of Sudan to suppress the slave trade.

Later in 1880, he was appointed as the Private Secret factory to the Viceroy of India. This was followed by Botswana, South Africa, and Ireland.

Charles Gordon: Death

In 1884, Mahdi, a Muslim fundamentalist leader, led a revolt in Sudan against the Anglo-Egyptian rule. Gordon was chosen as Governor-General in Sudan, to conduct an orderly evacuation of the troops.

As Gordon didn’t obey his orders, Mahdi besieged Gordon in Khartoum. The relief column reached 2 days late but Gordon had already been murdered then. There was a public outcry after Gordon’s death as the nation had lost a fearless and selfless leader.