Mar 152011

Major General Earl Van Dorn of the Confederate Army, son of Peter and Sophie Van Dorn, and brother of Emily Van Dorn Miller. Picture from “Van Dorn: The Life and Times of a Confederate General,” R. G. Hartje (Vanderbilt, 1967).

There is a short biography of Earl available in three formats: three formats: HTML (best for on-line viewing, 29 Kbytes plus pictures), PDF (best for printing, 387 Kbytes), and Microsoft Word (378 Kbytes).

Born 20 September 1820 at Port Gibson, MS. Educated in Baltimore. Appointed to West Point class of 1842 by President Andrew Jackson (“Uncle Andrew”); Earl finished 52nd in a class of 56 men he was to fight with and against in the Civil War; a personal friend of fellow officers Zachary Taylor, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis. Stationed in Alabama, he married Carolina (Carrie) Godbold and had three children.

Earl fought in the Mexican War, then in the Indian Wars. Commanded Confederate armies in AS, MS, and TN. Fatally shot by Dr. George Peters on 7 May 1863 at Spring Hill, TN, near Nashville, re misbehavior with the young Mrs. (Jessie) Peters. Buried in the city cemetery at Port Gibson, marked still today with a simple stone, “Earl Van Dorn”. Emily Miller later assembled material for “A Soldier’s Honor: With Reminiscences of Major-General Earl Van Dorn” by His Comrades (Abbey, New York, 1902); single copy advertised 9/2000 for $550.