Van Dorn, Earl

Van Dorn, Earl

(1820–63) soldier; born near Port Gibson, Miss. A West Point graduate (1842), he saw considerable action fighting in the Mexican War, the Seminole War, and against the Indians (he was wounded four times in one engagement). As a major general of the Confederate cavalry, he was defeated at Pea Ridge, Ark. (March 1862) and Corinth, Miss. (Oct. 1862); he retrieved his military reputation leading Confederate cavalry against Grant during the Vicksburg campaign (1862–63). A civilian enemy—said to be a jealous husband—shot and killed Van Dorn as he sat working in his tent.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.