Son of William Gordon (d. 1745), 2nd Earl of Aberdeen, and Anne Gordon (d. 1791), dau of Alexander, 2nd Duke of Gordon. At the time of his death, in December, 1771, he was a Captain in the army.
Boswell possibly met him in Amsterdam during the early part of his stay in Holland, at a time when Boswell was unsure whether to choose the University at Leyden or Utrecht. A reason why he considered Leyden was that Gordon, among others, would be nearby (either at Leyden or nearby The Hague). However, Gordon's favour soon fell. In early September 1763, Archibald Stewart wrote to Boswell, that he didn't think Gordon the right companion for Boswell. Also, Boswell finally did choose Utrecht, and when he went to the Hague in December 1763, he made a note to be retenu with Gordon, as well as staying at the Maréchal Turenne, so he wouldn't have to spend too much time with him. Although they did meet at various occasions during the next few weeks, Boswell was much reserved and tried to avoid Gordon at times.