I have had the pleasure of reading Bryan Perrett’s work “The Real Hornblower” in which he postulates that C.S. Forester at least partially based Hornblower’s adventures on the exploits of Admiral James Gordon. The bibliography contains valuable links to primary sources, among them the London Gazette and the Naval Chronicle, both titles that have appeared in previous entries here. Being as this blog is intended to find primary sources in a digital format, I must express my regret at not being able to locate an online version of Letters and Records of Admiral of the Fleet Sir James Alexander Gordon, GCB. This just goes to prove that not everything is online, and also that this work was privately published and almost certainly there are few copies available. To make up for this deficiency, I tried to find other primary sources that might help define Gordon. In the Memoir of the Life of Admiral Sir Edward Codrington. With selections from his public and private correspondence (1873) we do find a couple of reference to Gordon, one of which calls him “Jemmy”. There are fuller mentions of Gordon in Memoirs and letters of Capt. Sir William Hoste (1833). (Hoste was his commander in the Adriatic.) In The Naval War of 1812: A Documentary History, a treasure trove of primary sources scrupulously edited, you will find repeated mentions of Gordon, along with his report of his expedition in concert with the burning of Washington, D.C. (all found in the index to volume 3).
“The Real Hornblower”