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CDV, General Earl Van Dorn

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CDV, General Earl Van Dorn (Image1)
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Item Number: cdv9594
 

 



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Murdered at his headquarters in 1863 by a jealous husband!

Image published by Vannerson & Jones, Richmond, Va.


(1820-63) Born near Port Gibson in Claiborne County, Mississippi, he was a great-nephew of President Andrew Jackson. He graduated in the West Point class of 1842, with one of his classmates being future Confederate General James Longstreet. Van Dorn was known for fighting with distinction during the Mexican War, seeing action in the battles of Monterey, Vera Cruz, Contreras, Cerro Gordo, Churubusco and Mexico City. He became famous for successfully leading a defense of a Native-American settlement against the attacking Comanche, in addition to his impressive victories as a cavalry commander during the War Between the States. He is considered one of the greatest cavalry commanders to have ever lived. He resigned his commission in the U.S. Army on January 31, 1861, in order to join the Confederacy. Appointed brigadier general on June 5, 1861, he was assigned to Texas where some of the Union forces there surrendered to him. He was soon promoted to major general on September 19, 1861. The following January he was appointed commander of the Army of the West in the Trans-Mississippi theater where he fought at the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas in March 1862. He later fought at the 2nd Battle of Corinth, in October 1862. General Van Dorn achieved a very notable victory when he captured a large Union supply depot in his Holly Springs Raid, embarrassing General Ulysses S. Grant, and disrupting his Vicksburg operations, and in the process saving the Confederacy's important stronghold, and main port on the Mississippi River. His next acclaimed success that helped establish his reputation as a military genius was his overwhelming defeat over an enemy brigade at the Battle of Thompson's Station, Tennessee. He was murdered in his headquarters on May 7, 1863, by Doctor James B. Peters, who alleged that Van Dorn had an affair with his wife! While stationed at Spring Hill, General Van Dorn was often seen in the company of Mrs. Jessie McKissack Peters, the young wife of Doctor Peters who was in his late forties. The dashing Rebel general was considered to be a ladies' man, and Mrs. Peters was frequently seen as the general's riding partner. The jealous Doctor Peters decided to pay a call on General Van Dorn at his headquarters in the Martin Cheairs home, and shot the general dead as he sat behind his desk. Peters immediately fled the area and found sanctuary within the Union lines at Franklin, Tennessee, and justified the murder of General Van Dorn for him violating the sanctity of his home. The general was originally buried at Spring Hill, in the family plot of his wife, but his remains were later sent to Port Gibson, in 1902, and he was re-interred in Wintergreen Cemetery.

Wet plate, albumen carte de visite photograph, mounted to 2 3/8 x 3 3/4 card. Bust view in Confederate uniform. Bottom of the mount is slightly trimmed. Light age toning and wear. Back mark: Vannerson & Jones, Photographic Artists, No. 77 Main St., Richmond, Va., with a pair of 1 cent, U.S. Internal Revenue Proprietary tax stamps, with a bust view of George Washington, and 1865 date handwritten in ink on both stamps. Very scarce and extremely desirable to find his image with a Vannerson & Jones, Richmond, Va. imprint. This is probably the best known portrait in uniform of General Van Dorn, and was most likely the last photograph he ever had taken!



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