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General Patrick Gordon

Patrick Gordon was born in 1635 at Auchleuchries near Ellon and Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. His family were holders of the small estate of Auchleuchries with connections with the house of Haddo. He was educated at the Cruden and Ellon Schools until aged 15 when he entered the Jesuit College at Braunsberg, Prussia.

From there he was to journey back home to Scotland but whilst travelling through what is now Germany he enlisted into the army at Hamburg into the Swedish military in 1655.

Patrick Gordon was a mercenary soldier who was taken prisoner several times and fought for different Countries. He saw action with the Swedish, Polish and then the Imperial Russian army and fought in the wars against Russia, Poland and Sweden from 1655 to 1660.

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Patrick Gordon Russian Army

In 1661 he enlisted with the Russian army under Tsar Aleksei I and he eventually rose to the rank of Major General in 1678 and then Lieutenant-General in 1683.

During his service he went on missions back to Britain between 1686-1687, in campaigns against the Turks and the Tatars in Southern Russia. In 1679 he was appointed to the Chief Command at Kiev.

He became a close friend to Czar Peter I who became known as Peter the Great.

In 1689 General Patrick Gordon helped Peter by stopping an attempted coup by Peter's half sister the regent tsarevna Sophia Alekseyevna.

General Patrick Gordon died on 29 November 1699.

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His diary, which he wrote in English, was preserved in manuscript form in the archives of the Imperial Russian Foreign Office. It was translated by Dr Maurice Possalt into German and called Tagebuch des Generals Patrick Gordon in 1849 with a second volume in 1851 and a third in 1853. A UK edition was published in 1859 in Aberdeen for the Spalding Club by Editor Joseph Robertson.

In 2009 the diaries of Patrick Gordon were published, in English for the first time, by Professor Paul Dukes, Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies at Aberdeen University.

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