Historic Chickamauga Georgia
When he first came to the area, James Gordon lived in the old Cherokee log house located in what was called the "Fort Field." While here he determined to build the grandest house in the area. The full effort took seven years, and in 1847 the splendid mansion was completed. After building his mansion, James Gordon formed a partnership with James Lee to establish the Lee and Gordon's Mills.
James Lee subsequently married Gordon's daughter Elizabeth. One of the first Confederate units, that became Company D., in the 1st Georgia Infantry Regiment, was organized above Crawfish Springs. James Clark Gordon, the son of James Gordon, was elected captain and commander of the company. He stood on a large rock, accepting his command. The rock still exists by the entrance to the drive leading to the house.
James Gordon's health failed and he died in the winter of 1863. Elizabeth Lee brought her children back to be with her mother. On the morning of September 16, 1863, Federal General William S. Rosecrans took over the Gordon mansion to serve as his headquarters. Sarah Gordon, the 57 year old widow of James Gordon, and her daughter and the grandchildren were relegated to one of the brick slave houses. When the battle started, Rosecrans moved his headquarters north to the Widow Glenn House.
Gordon Lee, the four-year-old son of James and Elizabeth Lee, was at the Gordon House with his mother and grandmother during the battle. His constant cheerful nature made him a favorite with the federal soldiers there. In adult life, Gordon Lee liked to tell about his participation in the battle. "I was in but one battle," he would say, "but that was the great battle of Chickamauga. I was in the Union lines at the beginning and in the Confederate lines at the end. I did not desert; but I was one of the few who stayed where they were when the Confederates advanced. Of course, no one can blame me for being annexed to the Confederacy."
In later life Gordon Lee became a congressman and added the large columns to the front of the mansion. It was on these grounds that plans were made which resulted in the creation of the Chickamauga Chattanooga National Military Park.
Congressman Gordon Lee and John T. Wilder established the local coke ovens to serve the Durham Mines on Lookout Mountain. They also formed the Crawfish Springs Land Company and sold the lots that became the City of Chickamauga. The last members of the family were two elderly women who lived in the house until their death and the local school system assumed ownership. The city was considering tearing it down, when Dr. Frank Green purchased the house in 1975 and completely restored it.
Dr. Green sold the property to the City of Chickamauga in 2007. The house and grounds, along with the fully restored Gordon Lee Mills forms the centerpiece for historic tourism in the local area.