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In the American Civil War, he served as a Confederate general, appointed commander of the Trans-Mississippi District. At the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, in March 1862, he was defeated by a smaller Union force, partly because he had abandoned his supply-wagons for the sake of speed, leaving his men under-equipped in cold weather. At the Second Battle of Corinth in October 1862, he was again defeated through a failure of reconnaissance and removed from high command. He then scored two notable successes as a cavalry commander, capturing a large Union supply depot at Holly Springs and an enemy position at Thompson’s Station, Tennessee. In May 1863, he was shot dead at his headquarters at Spring Hill by a doctor who claimed that Van Dorn had carried on an affair with his wife.
|373k||Gun Boat battle off Fort Pillow - between the federal gun boats:
USS Cincinnati and
USS Carondelt and the Confederate Gun Boats
CSS General Van Dorn and
CSS Mc Rae - during the America Civil War was published in the Illustrated London News (ILN) on the 14th of June 1862
|373k||"Battle of Fort Pillow, First position" Engraving published in Rear Admiral Henry Walke's Naval Scenes and Reminiscences of the Civil War in
the United States ... (1877), depicting the action between the Confederate River Defense Fleet and Federal ironclads near Fort Pillow, Tennessee, 10 May 1862. Confederate
ships, seen at right, include (from left to right):
CSS General Earl Van Dorn,
CSS General Sterling Price,
CSS General Bragg,
CSS General Sumter and
CSS Little Rebel. The Federal ironclads, in the center and left, are (from left to right):
USS Mound City,
USS Carondelet and
USS Cincinnati. A Federal mortar boat is by the river bank in the lower right.
US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 2049
|255k||"Battle of Fort Pillow, 3rd Position" Engraving published in Rear Admiral Henry Walke's Naval Scenes and Reminiscences of the Civil War in
the United States ... (1877), depicting the action between the Confederate River Defense Fleet and Federal ironclads near Fort Pillow, Tennessee, 10 May 1862.
Confederate ships, seen at left, include:
CSS Colonel Lovell,
CSS General Beauregard,
CSS General M. Jeff Thompson,
CSS General Bragg,
CSS General Sumter,
CSS Little Rebel and
CSS General Earl van Dorn. The Federal ironclads, in the center and right, are:
USS Mound City,
USS Saint Louis,
USS Cairo and
USS Pittsburg. A tug is seen in the right foreground.
US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 42755
|232k||"Closing-Scene of the Naval Engagement Before Memphis, Tennessee., 6 June 1862" Line engraving published in Harper's Weekly, 1862. Ships shown
are (from left to right):
CSS General Earl Van Dorn (escaping, with the Federal fleet in pursuit);
CSS General Sumter (captured);
CSS General Beauregard (sinking) and
CSS General M. Jeff Thompson (blowing up).
US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 59053
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