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Earl Van Dorn

Date of Birth:      September 17, 1820
Hometown:         Port Gibson, MS
Education:           West Point, 1842
Final Wartime Rank:    Major General
Final Peacetime Rank:  N/A

Date of Death:     May 7, 1863
Place of Death:    Spring Hill, TN
Buried At:            Port Gibson, MS

Major Battles:       Battle of Pea Ridge, Siege of Corinth, Battle of Holly Springs

Interesting Fact(s):    Van Dorn, would graduate, fourth from last, in the West Point class, of 1842.  He would serve in the Indian campaigns, and would be twice brevetted, for bravery, during the Mexican War - reaching the brevet rank of major.  With the Secession Crisis, and the Civil War looming, Van Dorn would resign his U.S. Army commission - major in the 2nd U.S. Cavalry, and would enter the Confederate service.  Advancing rapidly, he would be appointed colonel, on June 5, 1861 and would be promoted major general on September 19, 1861.  He would be made commander of the Army of the West, and would be stationed in Arkansas.  In March, 1862, Van Dorn would lead his troops to a small junction, in northwest Arkansas, Elk Horn Tavern (Pea Ridge), to battle Samuel Curtis's U.S. Army of the Southwest.  Van Dorn sacrificed gains made, during the first day of battle, by not bringing his supply train forward.  On the second day of battle, he would be swept from the field, having little, or no artillery ammunition.  After Curtis pursued his army, through northern Arkansas, Van Dorn would be reassigned to Vicksburg, but would arrive too late to aid P.G.T. Beauregard at Shiloh.  Again, Van Dorn would be beaten, this time by William S. Rosecrans, at Corinth, and he would be replaced in command, by John Pemberton, with Pemberton putting him in charge of his cavalry.  His most lasting achievement, would be attained, in this position, when he defeated part of U.S. Grant's army, at Holly Springs, destroying Grant's supply line.  Grant would be forced to move his command back into Tennessee, relieving pressure on Vicksburg.  Van Dorn, ever the boastful officer, would become most famous, when the husband, of his lover, would assassinate him, at his headquarters, in Spring Hill, TN.

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