Son of the 2nd Duke of Gordon. In 1767 he married Jean Drummond (d. 1795), widow of James Murray, 2nd Duke of Atholl. In 1786 he became commander-in-chief of the army in Scotland and Governor of Edinburgh Castle. Also a sometime MP for Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire.
In 1764 he was a Colonel of the 66th Foot Regiment, with which he left England for Jamaica in April of that year. They arrived there in June, but already in August, Gordon continued on for a tour of the British colonies on the North American continent. He arrived back in England in November 1765. In 1766 he received a grant of 20.000 acres of land in East Florida, but rumours about him being appointed Governor of Massachusetts proved to be untrue.1
A relative of his, Harry Gordon, described him in the following way: "Lord Adam is warm sometimes, whimsical a little, but of the warmest friendship".2
Mentioned on December 26, 1762 (as Lord Adam Gordon) when Boswell visited him, having been recommended by James Murray. Gordon was then a Colonel of the Guards.