Conflict Period:
Civil War (Union) 1
Army 1
General 1
Brooklyn, NY 1
11 Jan 1896 1
New York City, NY 1

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Personal Details

Full Name:
Francis Channing Barlow 1
Also known as:
General Francis Barlow 1
Full Name:
Francis Barlow 1
Brooklyn, NY 1
Male 1
19 Oct 1834 1
11 Jan 1896 1
New York City, NY 1
Cause: Bright's Disease 1
Walnut Street Cemetery in Brookline, Massachusetts 1

Civil War (Union) 1

Army 1
General 1
Service Start Date:
1861 1
Service End Date:
1865 1
lawyer, politician, and Union General during the American Civil War 1
Unitarian 1

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  1. Contributed by bruceyrock632


Saved by the enemy

On July 1, 1863 at around 3:00 p.m., Brigadier General John

B. Gordon’s Georgians attacked General Francis Barlow’s

First Division, which was located on a small knoll north and

slightly east of town. This knoll, or small hill, at the right

flank of the Union line was later known as Barlow’s Knoll.

Gordon’s assault was a success, and as the men of the First

Division were retreating, one soldier’s courage and devotion

caught Gordon’s eye. 

This soldier was General Francis Barlow, who was trying to

rally his troops – to get them to stop retreating and make one

final, honorable stand. Suddenly, a minie bullet pierced him

through the trunk, paralyzing his arms and legs as it passed

near his spine (Civil War Chronicle, 321). 

John B. Gordon found the officer, lying pale on the ground,

and he was struck with pity. He dismounted his horse and

gave him water from his canteen. They exchanged names.

Both soldiers thought that Barlow was about to die. Gordon

and several soldiers carried Barlow to the rear. His last request was for Gordon to carry a

message to his wife. He wanted to make sure Mrs. Barlow knew that his last thoughts were of

her, and he wanted her to know the name of the kind soldier who helped him as he lay dying.

Gordon promised to take the message to her. He

found Mrs. Barlow with the Union army and

delivered the message under flag of truce. 

Convinced that Barlow was dead, Gordon thought

no more of the incident. After all, thousands died

at Gettysburg. What he didn’t know was that the

minie ball did NOT kill Barlow. He survived! 

Next summer, Francis Barlow saw a newspaper

article that said General J.B. Gordon of North

Carolina had died. Barlow thought that this was

the same general who had helped him at

Gettysburg. What he didn’t know was that J.B.

Gordon was his friend’s relative – not the man who helped him. For fifteen years, each general thought the other was dead. John B. Gordon went on to become a United States Senator. One day, U.S. Representative Clarkson Potter, of New York, invited Gordon to dinner with someone named Francis Barlow. This Barlow had been a General in the Union Army (Potter didn't know about anything that had happened at Gettysburg, and Gordon thought this was a different General Barlow.  And Francis Barlow though there must be a different General Gordon.   Suddenly, the two men found themselves sitting across from each other at dinner.  Gordon said "General, are you related to the Barlow that was killed at Gettysburg"? Barlow answered Why, I am the man, sir. Are you related to Gordon who killed me? Gordon replied I am the man, sir   Both men were stunned! They went on to be good friends until Barlow died in 1896

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