Van Dorn, Earl, 1820-1863

Alternative names
Birth 1820-09-17
Death 1863-05-07

Biographical notes:

Major General Earl Van Dorn was a Confederate general, originally from Mississippi. He was born near Port Gibson (Miss.) on Sept. 17, 1820. After graduating from West Point (N. Y. ) in 1842, he began a long career in the army. He was recognized for gallant and meritorious service during the Mexican War in 1848. He also served in the Seminole Indian War and in the West. When he resigned his U.S. Army commission, he was a major in the famous 2nd Cavalry Regiment. He was commissioned a colonel of cavalry in Confederate service and soon earned fame by capturing the "Star of the West" steamer in Galveston (Tex.) in April 1861. He was quickly promoted to brigadier and then major general in late 1861. After defeats at Pea Ridge (Ark.) and Corinth (Miss.) he was replaced by General John C. Pemberton. After becoming Pemberton's chief of cavalry, Van Dorn led a highly successful raid on U.S. General Grant's supply depot in Holly Springs (Miss.) in Dec. 1862. This disrupted Grant's operations against Vicksburg (Miss.) and helped Van Dorn redeem his reputation. On May 7, 1863, he was murdered at his headquarters in Spring Hill (Tenn.) by Dr. George Peters, a local physician. He was buried in Mobile (Ala.) initially, but his body was reinterred to Port Gibson (Miss.).

From the description of General Earl Van Dorn papers, 1847-1904. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122498294

Confederate army officer.

From the description of Earl Van Dorn papers, 1858-1863. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70981503


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Ark ID:


  • Mexican War, 1846-1848
  • Pea Ridge, Battle of, 1862


  • Army officers, Confederate


  • Louisiana (as recorded)
  • Tennessee (as recorded)
  • Arkansas (as recorded)
  • Mississippi (as recorded)
  • Vicksburg (Miss.) (as recorded)
  • Spring Hill (Tenn.) (as recorded)
  • Corinth (Miss.) (as recorded)
  • Camp Moore (La.) (as recorded)
  • West Point (N. Y.) (as recorded)
  • Pea Ridge (Ark.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Holly Springs (Miss.) (as recorded)
  • Columbia (Tenn.) (as recorded)
  • Mobile (Ala.) (as recorded)
  • La Grange (Tenn.) (as recorded)
  • Lamar (Miss.) (as recorded)
  • Port Gibson (Miss.) (as recorded)
  • Jackson (Miss.) (as recorded)
  • Vicksburg (Miss.) (as recorded)
  • Franklin (Tenn.) (as recorded)
  • Tennessee (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Bolivar (Tenn.) (as recorded)
  • Mississippi (as recorded)
  • Galveston (Tex.) (as recorded)
  • Chattanooga (Tenn.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)