SEATED VIEW OF CONFEDERATE GENERAL EARL VAN DORN

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Item Code: 1138-539

Three-quarter seated CDV of Van Dorn in uniform. He is posed with one arm thrown over the back of his chair. He wears a light-colored double-breasted frockcoat with dark cuffs and galloons on the sleeves. He also wears dark trousers.

Image has very good clarity and contrast. Paper and mount are good.

Reverse is blank but for some collector information in pencil at bottom.

Photo is from the collection of the late William A. Turner.

Earl Van Dorn was born near Port Gibson, Miss., September 17, 1820.  He was graduated from West Point, 1842, as brevet second lieutenant and was assigned to the Seventh infantry.

Of the same regiment he was commissioned second lieutenant November 30, 1844.  In the war with Mexico he was engaged in the defense of Fort Brown, the storming of Monterey, the siege of Vera Cruz, the battles of Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Churubusco, Chapultepec, and capture of the city of Mexico.

He was promoted first lieutenant March 3, 1847, brevetted captain April 18, 1847, for gallant and meritorious conduct at Cerro Gordo, and brevetted major for like service at Contreras and Churubusco.  He was wounded on entering the Belen Gate of the city of Mexico.

His services in the United States army were varied and efficient.  He served in Florida against the Seminole Indians, and commanded an expedition against the Comanche Indians, being four times wounded in a combat near Washita Village, Indian Territory, October 1, 1858.

Two of the wounds were inflicted by arrows and proved quite dangerous.  He was commissioned captain of the Second Cavalry March 3, 1855, and major in the same regiment June 28, 1860.  Upon the secession of Mississippi, he re-signed his commission in the United States army, and was appointed brigadier-general of the State forces by the Mississippi legislature, and afterward major-general to succeed Jefferson Davis.

He was commissioned colonel of cavalry in the regular Confederate service to date from March 16, 1861, and for a short time was in command at Forts Jackson and St. Philip, below New Orleans. Then going to Texas he was put in command of that department, April 11th.

With a body of Texas volunteers on April 20th he captured the steamer Star of the West, in Galveston harbor, and on the 24th of the same month received at Saluria the surrender of Maj. Caleb C. Sibley and seven companies of the United States infantry, and that of Col. Isaac V. D. Reese with six companies of the Eighth infantry.

His promotion in the Confederate army was very rapid, to brigadier-general in June, and to major-general in September, 1861.  Going to Virginia he was assigned to command of the First Division, Army of the Potomac, during the latter part of 1861.

Thence he was transferred in January, 1862, to the command of the Trans-Mississippi district.  There, in general command of the forces of Price, McCulloch and McIntosh, he brought on the battle of Elkhorn, which was well-conceived, but failed of success through the untimely loss of the latter two officers.

Ordered by Gen. A. S. Johnston to cross the Mississippi, he brought his army to Corinth just after the battle of Shiloh, and joining Beauregard, was in command of the army of the West, which formed one corps of the forces occupying Corinth until the latter part of May.

His next service was in command of the district of Mississippi, with headquarters at Vicksburg, during the naval operations against that place in the summer of 1862.  After Bragg moved toward Kentucky Van Dorn was left in command of a force called the army of West Tennessee, with which, aided by Price's army of the West, he made an attack on Rosecrans at Corinth, October, 1862, in which his troops made a gallant fight, but suffered heavy loss in the attempt to carry the enemy's works.

The circumstances of the battle and the retreat which followed were the subject of investigation, and while he was vindicated from certain charges made against him, he was transferred to command of cavalry.

At the head of the force which he organized he defeated Grant's formidable invasion of Mississippi in December, 1862, by the surprise and capture of the garrison at Holly Springs, and the destruction of the stores accumulated.

He formed a splendid cavalry command in Mississippi and west Tennessee, with such able lieutenants as Forrest, Martin, Jackson, Armstrong, Whitfield and Cosby.  In March he assailed a force of the enemy at Thompson's Station, Tenn., capturing over 1,000 men.

General Van Dorn was murdered by a jealous husband on May 7, 1863 as he sat at his desk in his office in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

He is buried in Wintergreen Cemetery, Port Gibson, Mississippi. [AD] [ph:L]

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