A Civil War Biography

Thomas Jordan

Thomas Jordan was born 30 September 1819 in Luray Valley, Virginia. He graduated 41st, next to last, in the West Point class of 1840 and was assigned as a 2nd lieutenant in the 3rd Infantry at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. He took part in the Seminole war and was promoted to 1st lieutenant in 1846. He served in the Mexican war being promoted to captain and quartermaster in 1847. He remained in Mexico for a year after the war ended then spent the remainder of his US military career in the Southern garrisons and on the Pacific coast.

Jordan resigned from the US Army on 21 May 1861 and was commissioned a captain in the corps of infantry in the Confederate army. He served on Beauregard's staff as a lieutenant colonel at Manassas Junction and was promoted to colonel and made chief of staff and adjutant-general when Beauregard took command of the Army of the Potomac. During the 21 July 1861 battle of First Manassas, Jordan was responsible for directing reinforcements to the front. He accompanied Confederate President Jefferson Davis to the field.

When Beauregard was sent west Jordan accompanied him. Jordan helped prepare the Confederate troops for the advance from Corinth and the battle of Shiloh. During Shiloh he was active along the line and at one time had with him and under his direction the chiefs of staff of the different corps commanders. He was promoted to brigadier general on 14 April 1862 and was assigned as Bragg's chief of staff until after the Kentucky campaign. When Beauregard was sent to the defense of Charleston, Jordan rejoined his former commander as chief of staff of the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. In May 1864 he was assigned command of the 3rd Military district of South Carolina.

After the war Jordan helped document the history of the Confederate army and became chief of the general staff of the Cuban insurgent army. He published in 1868, "The Campaigns of Lieutenant-General Forrest." Jordan landed in Cuba in May 1869 and by December was given chief command of the army of independence. After a victory over superior forces at Guaimaro in January 1870 the lack of supplies forced Jordan to resign and return to the US. He moved to New York where he edited the Mining Journal. He also was a contributor to "Battles and Leaders." Jordan died 27 November 1895 in New York City.

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