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tv   The Civil War Confederate General Earl Van Dorn  CSPAN  December 15, 2021 3:28pm-4:29pm EST

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the pro-life which to say, look at her and look at the cost of abortion. she never had an abortion. what she actually is a fascinating sort testimony to is the cost after adoption. she struggled enormously, emotionally what it meant to have relinquished her three children to adoption.
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good afternoon. it's my great privilege and honor to introduce matt atkinson. matt has worked at petersburg national field. he's currently employed as a ranger/historian at gettysburg
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military park. >> this is the adjustment period, right. you find out what the mike is like. i appreciate y'all having me again. it's good to be back. i got 13 pages of single space notes and i got 45 minutes.
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they had an introducer of the introducer. that's when you big time when you have to introduce an introducer. you're going to get the 90 mile an hour tour of those. i need to tell you about the honda. i need to give you an update on my honda. the only thing you people seem to get out of my lecture was the story about my electric chair being down and me riding from gettysburg with no back support. i got a new story for you. all right. let's do over earl van dorn. i was supposed to do this last year or the year before and just
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couldn't help it. let's see if i can get to work here. when chris came to me and said i need an idea, i forget the whole thing how the conversation went down. i got guy that's got sex and violence. especially after lunch, when you get this slot. thank you very much for moving me up. earl van dorn. let's see where earl is from right here. he's born in port mission,
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mississippi born in 1820. he came from a wealthy family. i've been in that house. it's in lot better shape when i saw it 20 years ago. 15, 20 years ago. i think that picture pre-dates that. his father dies when he's teenager leaving earl van dorn to fend for himself. we got all these college kids wanting to get on with the government and everything. i don't know how much is skilled in life and how much is who you know.
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that's how early gets going. upon graduating in 1842, he ranked 52 out of 68. that would be about where i would fall in my high school class. incidentally, though, earl van dorn beat out james longstreet for 55th in his class. that's for you, bob, where ever you are. foreshadowing the coming years of rebellious life and free spirit, van dorn accumulated 283 demerits. i bet i could rank lower than that. such offenses was including
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failure to salute, failure to attend church, that's pure heathan as well as professing the profanity of friends. didn't know you had to do that a west point. they sent him to the middle of nowhere. he met 16-year-old martha carolyn godbold. no, this is not earl van dorn. i don't know why you're looking at that. they married in december of
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1843. kerry was remembered as a girlish looking little girl, modest and shy, slight and graceful, end of quote. although married, kerry's parents did not let go of their baby girl. she stayed at her parents house while van dorn was deployed to other stations. she is going to survive van dorn in life or his death. there's no pictures of her. that's the only description that i could find of her. from a personal standpoint, from a historian standpoint i'm very curious about her. i'd like to know more. i wish i had more to tell you because when i tell you these stories i'm not going to mention her much anymore. she's always in the shadow,
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lingering there. i always wonder what she thought about what i'm about to describe to you. so much for a sentimental crowd around here. in 1846, you'll never get to believe this but a war broke out with mexico. he was assigned, earl was assigned to the 7th u.s. infantry and began the war in fort texas and brownsville, texas, future texas. when the american flag fell from the pole, it was vandorn who volunteered to dash out and reraise the flag. following the mexican war, the army assigned him to various posts across the country such as
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jefferson barrets. baton rouge, louisiana. must have a tennessee fan in here. didn't like baton rouge. in florida, surely there's somebody from georgia in here. he was fighting the seminoles. by the late 1850s, he was in texas stationed in texas and oklahoma chasing the indians and on october 1st, 1858, he was seriously wounded at the battle of wichita village. i think this is where the style of command that earl van dorn exercises in the civil war comes
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from. the time he was stationed in the peace war army. at the fight of -- at the battle of wichita village while holding the reins in his left hand, an arrow that would have hit his heart hit him just above the rest. after passing between two bones stopped near the elbow. i don't know exactly how to describe that to you but i don't think i have to. now if that didn't get your goose up after lunch, i'll it will you this, another arrow fired from below his horse, i guess the opponent was below, struck him on the right side puncturing beau lungs and stomach before exiting out his left side. he reportedly extracted the arrows himself. he have expected to die.
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they don't die but revealing a tenacity like no other was bad in the saddle five weeks later. i need a light workstation. van born dame known as one of the greatest indian fighters in the united states army and he received a silver serving set from the citizens of port gibson. try saying that when you're in a hurry. silver serving set. he was given several swords and the sword he has in his hand is the one from the state of
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mississippi. he joined the state army. they had provisional armies. he rises to the rank of major general which means, absolutely nothing. he wanted a rank in the newly minted national government and accepted a currency. let's get into earl van dorn. the federal troops are starting to withdraw or most of them have been withdrawn from texas but there is one last contingent and
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van dorn shows great audacity, or i don't know if i would have pulled this. he doesn't have any naval forces. the state of texas does not have any navy. the last remnants of the union army are pulling out and they have transport ship. it's called the star of the west. to make it such a small world, this is the same vessel that was charged with reenforcing fort sumpter in april of '61 and turned back by the confederacy. i'm reaching deep here. long story short, van dorn proceeds to get transport ship and hiding the men pe l below t deck, he sails right up to the deck and he hails the captain, somebody does and says we're pulling in port. do you mind if we tie up? sure. go ahead. they throw the game and throw them a rope and the next thing they know there's a confederate flag flying above the star of
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the west. you can't have a corvette like that with a bunch of red necks and they take it for sale and it goes to new orleans the the union may be coming south. you got the other ascending north from new orleans. that he tell the star of the west into the interior of mississippi or the state of mississippi and when the union army approaches during the pass expedition, if you got that one, my hat is off to you.
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they literally sell this thing into the tine your or of state when union navy approach, they sank it. there's some trivia for you. while he's down there, going back to texas, the good folks at san antonio threw a ball in his honor and after generous toast, he responded in part like there, the only reason i'm telling you this is because i like to hear my voice echo off this microphone. i'm just kidding. it will give you, in all honesty, it will give you a good taste of what he was like and it's all, ladies and gentlemen, cavalier, if you will.
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i hope he didn't do this off the cuff. if he did, boy, i'm jealous. one mile from the beauty around me here, one kind and approving glance from the eyes of those here who like myself contend in the rough aflee of life were more than sufficient to compensate me for all my humble labors on the field. period. the smile of women and men are the earth marks of our loftiest aspirations. they are the sweetest apple of the hesperidies.
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anybody know a little ancient history? well, guess what, all that convuluded stuff, i went to the mississippi public education system. what's your excuse? thanks for bailing me out. you know we're on live television. allow me to propose the women of the south, the same guards of our honor where ever they point, there our honor lies. yeah. you can just smell the whiskey on his breat when you read that quote right there. you're looking at a drinking man
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right there. cold beer man. in september of '61, van ordere virginia. making him the senior major general in the south. at first he was given all the command of the cavalry. he did his duty but longed for action. around hospitable board, he was given reason and flow the the soul. which means what?
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that's the one knock on this banquet. i don't get all you can drink down here. ought to open the taps up after lunch. i could sit here for an hour or two. had a banquet given by general james longstreet. an argument ensued on the subject of what song should be the new southern national anthem. some suggested maryland my maryland while others dixie. not van dorn. he argued for the liberty duet from eye puritana. he began to sing the stanzas at the table. van dorn could not be herd and long street resorted bonn the table and show yourself. we can't see you. up on the table he went.
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up on the table that he went. joining them was none other than gustavis smith. that must have been a heck of a birth. gustavis. they bellowed the verses. let the words country, victory and honor awaken terror in enemy. let the trumpets sound. it's a fine thing to face death crying freedom. that's the best i can do for you. a lady designed a new battle flag for the armies and being the senior major general in the confederate service and her family being from mississippi, she sent one of the originals to earl van dorn with the request he liberate her hometown of alexandria virginia. here is a note for you. these flags run for the troops at the grand ceremony on november 28th, 1861 and the reason i put this slide up here
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and told you this story is this is one of few paintings i've ever found that's got earl van dorn in it. that's the gentleman right here. you can't really see him but this is pgt, earl van dorn, i believe gw smith. and i believe that may be johnson right here. anyway, always liked him, one of my favorites. as the new year of '62 turned over van dorn had a new assignment out west. they had rallied in arkansas, but their two principle commanders could not get along. jeff davis sends earl van dorn to unite the two forces. and so this is going to set up the battle of pearidge, thank
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you very much. doing a lot better than that last word. this is samuel curtis, to give short shrift of the battles, and i apologize that. the federalists were under the command of curtis, on the screen here, and van dorn ordered mccullough and prices forces, about 16,000 total, which included 1,000 indians under the command of albert pike, confederate organized indians to unite for a counter offensive. for his part federal commander curtis took up a defensive position along sugar creek with about 10,000 federals, so 16,000 versus 10,000, from a confederate standpoint up might think they had pretty good odds. van dorn did not wish to attack the federals in their strong position along this creek. you can't see it very well. i can't either. it's down here at the bottom of the screen. this blue which you see and that line you see is sugar creek. so anyway, van dorn proceeds to
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try to outflank them and tried to attack curtis from the rear. the attack was slow, though, too slow to surprise curtis in an effort to speed things up just made things more slower. so in order to expedite things because the army is backed up on one role. and basically he has a mountain, sugarloaf mountain, that is separating the two halves of his army. now you should know, ladies and gentlemen, even if you aren't a civil war buff, maybe a military historian, without instant communication it is well nigh impossible to coordinate with the means they had at hand in that time period this is what van dorn is going to do. one half will be under mccullough. long story short, they're going
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to meet and curtis' army will focus solely on mccullough's half of the confederate army, and this is now the town of lees town, arkansas. a lot are veterans of wilson creek. mccullough promptly gets killed. his second in command james mcintosh gets killed shortly thereafter and everything goes to pieces after that. is that concise enough? the remaining confederates try to stand them off which included the indians under albert pike but they eventually are checked, seesaw battles is what i'm trying to say. c. davis turns the tide for the union. and so mccullough's half is
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defeated. as a side note i can't resist putting this picture up here as we go through it. these are veterans and american indians that are up there. they did participate in this fight and the wars did not fight well, though, conventional napoleonic tactics. they came up, fired a volley and they ran off. they did return later and retrieved some scouts. you didn't laugh for that one, did you? all right, meanwhile, van dorn rode with price's left wing. there's mccullough and price with the left wing. on the morning of march 7, the head of van dorn's column struck the 24th missouri near elk horn tavern. they rush in reinforcements. the federals are allowed to
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deploy in their own defensive positions but nevertheless the confederates hit them on both flanks and they do collapse the union line. samuel curtis, the union commander, is not done, though, even though van dorn scores success the next day samuel curtis has that right there. i need not even explain the action. siegel will be in tactical command of the field, and he will counterattack and drive van dorn's forces from the battle of pea ridge. van dorn is very lucky to get away in the retreat he needs to retreat south, and he's on the northern side of the battlefield. van dorn actually slips around the union flank.
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he gets very lucky. you remember that because that comes back with van dorn from time to time, to say the least. van dorn, though, writes richmond if they will leave him in command he will be willing to go back on the offensive, that he would have no problem doing that. the next step is the confederate government is finding out that you can't defend everywhere, 1,000 hello mine front of the confederacy and arkansas will be sacrificed. after the battle of pearidge, they start consolidating all the forces including the confederate forces from west of the mississippi and so van dorn and his command will march east and cross the river. they will not make it in time for the battle of shiloh.
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i would love to know what would have happened if they were without him. what they bring with them, because this is a personal interest note of mine, they do bring the missourians, the former state guard, if you will, which turns out to be, i think, some of the best later. if you want to see heavy lifting, you look at john bowens' division in the vicksburg campaign. there's a reason those missourians are called on. he goes back across. they miss that. in the meantime, though, president davis is not happy about the vicksburg, mississippi, situation. new orleans has fallen by now. if you know your civil war history, i'm about to deep dive, they have retreated and jefferson davis doesn't trust him apparently with the last nugget on the river, so he sends
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earl van dorn down there in the summer of '62 to take command that is when van dorn sends breckenridge in turn to attack baton rouge. that is the end of the css arkansas, right? van dorn is over that department at the time all of these offensives are taking place. does that make sense? what i'm trying to give you is how many places this guy is at in the short span that he's in the war. i mean, no doubt jefferson davis trusts him up until this point. we have a problem again up in northern mississippi. they are now under the command of sterling price. van dorn is supposed to go up there and unite with him, take over, and they are jointly going to attack the rail junction of
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corinth, mississippi. the offensive is in conjunction with be robert e. lee's antietam campaign. so here he goes. the first thing that van dorn does is march past corinth. he marches to the northern side acting like he will go through middle tennessee and into western kentucky. he's not doing that. he attacks corinth from the north. he is slow getting into position and on october 3rd, the union army is allowed to consolidate and awaiting his arrival. this will be william rosecrans. there's a small gap between one
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of the two union brigades. they exploit the gap and drive the union forces back. so here's the front lines and the union forces will fall back closer to corinth, where on october 4th, this is going to happen. now the attack is delayed because a number of different reasons. lewis hebert's sickness postpones it until 9:00. i don't think it would have made any difference. i feel sorry for these soldiers, both sides, that have to attack the strongly entrenched enemy lines. entrenchments, that kind of firepower facing them and the confederates momentarily break through in battery robinette. it's just fleeting, if you will.
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the then result is a bloodied debacle and van dorn has to get out of there as best he can. rosecrans loses 2,500. van dorn loses 4,200. to show you the extent of his losses, this is part of the confederate dead that are piled up in front of battery robinette right here. it's interesting. on the left foreground, the gentleman that's propped up on the very left is colonel william p. rogers of the second texas. if you ever go to corinth, mississippi -- and i hate to say this. i don't know this. i'm not trying to be flippant. if the monument is still standing on the square, i believe that's supposed to be the likeness of rogers on that confederate monument in the courthouse square. so if you get there remember me kindly as you look up. i was at a seminar in fredericksburg, virginia, and that guy said that william p. rogers was up on that statue.
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i figured you all need a reprieve. after corinth the confederate government lost faith in van dorn. no, really? and his ability to lead an independent army. they sent john c. pemberton to supersede him. van dorn received a core command as a result. beginning in november of '62 grant begins an offensive gansz vicksburg. and what ends up happening here, ladies and gentlemen, is grant has not yet learned in his career that -- you all are seeing something not many people see. matt standing still. i hope you're enjoying this moment. i have to be tethered -- i was about to walk off. there are two railroads. memphis is at the center top of your map. grant is going to rebuild the railroad.
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he has not yet learned he can forge off the countryside like they would later. he's tethering his army to a railroad. well, the confederates start off -- there are three main rivers they can defend. pemberton decides to keep retreating back to the center of this map, and this is where van dorn is going to come into play. he will go -- if you want to take a deep dive, one of his cavalrymen will come to him and say, gentlemen, why don't we ride around grant's army. grant is approaching grenada and his supply depot is here. we ride around grant's army and destroy his base at holly springs.
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i would say this is the peak of van dorn's career because he pulls it off. he rides around and surprises the union garrison and destroys an estimated $1.5 million worth of supplies and grant is forced to turn around. the net result of that, the big picture, is sherman, his trusted lieutenant, has set sail on the boats and gotten to vicksburg, mississippi, but he's waiting on grant to come in from behind while he hits it in front and grant has already turned back around. van dorn is responsible for turning back grant's army. now, folks, positive press was now at van dorn's feet and you know -- can you imagine, i hope you're getting the sense of
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twhakd of guy. he's not a coward. i do not sense a coward. he does not send men into places he would not go himself. van dorn will go anywhere. he has an impulsive character and loves glory, the glory of war. okay. on march 5th van dorn scores another success at a small place called thompson station. not a very good picture but i love the jacket. i would love to have that jacket. i saw steven lang at gettysburg a couple weeks ago and all i wanted to talk to him was about that jacket he had on. where did you get that jacket? it's a nice jacket. at thompson station on march 5 of '63 van dorn scores a very good success against the small federal force.
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he sends, i'll just let the map explain it. you have whitfield, armstrong and forest on the right here and i'll just let the arrow show you what happened. it is never good to have an arrow with forrest's name pointing to your rear. and that's the battle of forrest station. in the midst of this fighting, i thought this was interesting. into the fray when the confederates -- the fighting was seesawing, talking about the front lines, stepped 17-year-old alice thompson not too much older than you all, ladies, and she waved it around to rally the arkansas men. and after the battle alice helped to attend many of the wounded. the reason i'm telling you this for the trivia, she later married the surgeon that she
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assisted that day, a dr. david dungan. the story does not end well, though. it never does when you start off talking about hank williams. alice dies in 1869 at the age of 23. some people just don't have any luck. i have one more story for you. ladies, could you bring me that drink, please. i forgot it. thank you. you can imagine how van dorn and forrest are going to get along. we're on the way to the beach and i decided -- come on up here. i decided there's no use coming
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all the way to gettysburg to go all the way back to turn back around, so here we go. i dressed them up right here. but i would like charisma could you mackowski to know if he's present this is why his vicksburg book is not done. i have one to match over here but she's not playing right now. >> that's an excellent reason. >> thank you. thank you very much. i guess you want a sip before you go, don't you? i learned. i had 12 12-year-old boys underneath me, 100 degrees, 100% humidity, wool uniform shooting a cannon eight hours a day. you would be surprised who you drink after. you get over it in a hurry.
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let daddy finish this. oh, lord. she says, daddy, you're not going -- [ applause ] thank you, i appreciate it. daddy, you're not going in there and talking about those dead people, are you, again? forrest and van dorn can't get along, and reportedly there was a heated engagement -- not engagement -- that belies military forces. a heated argument between the two of them at van dorn's headquarters about some kind of article that came out over thompson's station, the battle i just detailed, and for rest got the credit for it and van dorn was hot. forrest told him he would have him recant right in front of him. van dorn said -- van dorn,
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according to him, talking about forrest, the general expressed his conviction of my too great willingness to listen to stories to his discredit. one thing led to another and directly expressed my belief in his treachery and falsehood. suggesting there was as good a place a time as any to settle our difficulties. and suiting the action to my word i stepped to where my sword was hanging against the wall, snatched it down, turned to face him. forrest was a sight to see. he had risen and advanced one step, his sword half drawn and his face aflame with feeling. but even as i unsheathed my own sword and advanced to meet him, a wave of some kind seemed to pass over his countenance, and he slowly returned his sword to its sheath and steadily regarded
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me saying, general van dorn, you i am not afraid of. but i will not fight you, and i leave to you reconcile with yourself the gross wrong you have done me. it would never do for two officers of our rank to set such an example to the troops. and i remember, if you forget, with what both we owe to the cause. i never felt so ashamed in my life, van dorn said to his staff officer. and he went on to say and recalled that by forrest's manly attitude and words that the truer position was restored. quote, i immediately replied that he was right and apologized for being used for such expression to him. wish i could talk like that. and so we parted better friends, and i believe that we have been before. whatever else he may be, the man is certainly no coward. now i hope to show -- and this
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is the part i wanted to dwell on right here -- i hope to show impetuousty for one coming out of van dorn and, also, his love for glory. and that love also is going to extend, of course, to the fairer sex. even after the bloody repulse at corinth, van dorn still wanted to turn back and attack the city. sterling price turned to van dorn during this time and says you are the only man i ever saw who loves danger for its own sake. when any daring enterprise is before you, you cannot adequately estimate the obstacle in your way. van dorn was also a renaissance man. painting, poetry and horsemanship. he also, as i said, had an
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insatiable desire for glory. we come now to the ladies. a mobile newspaper reporter described grant van dorn as the terror ugly husbands and sear yaz papas. would you like for me to repeat that? because some -- never mind. the terror of ugly husbands. the same newspaper reporter described the following conversation while van dorn was in spring hill. quote, with the buxom widow of 20 after the lively little creature had congratulated him upon his recent success she closed by saying, general, you are older than i am, but let me give you a little advice, let the women alone until the war is over. my god, madam, replied van dorn. i cannot do that for it is all i
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am fighting for. i hate all men and were it not for the women inshould not fight at all. besides, if i adopted your generous advice, i would not now be speaking to you. whoo! now that man that's going to say that, he has good hair. [ applause ] he has good hair. i'll tell you what, i'm going to try that. no, okay, you want to go? all right. by the time he got to spring hill in 1863 earl was already versed in having affairs. while he was in texas from '57 to '60 he took up company with a local laundress named martha goodbread and had three children during those years he was stationed in texas. during the civil war there were rumors of an affair with an 18-year-old in vicksburg.
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i actually pulled a staff officer's letter one time researching at the library of congress and he was writing his parents saying all these rumors you're hearing about back home is not true. i'm reading this thinking, yeah, i think they are:now we come to april of '63. van dorn goes to the home of dr. george peters to inquire about using his farmland to graze his cavalry horses. the good doctor is out, but while he is there up rides the lady of the house. her name was jesse helen mckissic peters. and after introductions mrs. peters offers the general the use of the cabin on the estate for his headquarters, and van dorn doesn't come. there's not something he instantly jumps on. he would rather be in town. that's where all the balls are, where all the social stuff is happening. event lip he does need some paperwork done and he goes outside. when she finds out he's out in the cabin, what else is there to
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do? so when dr. peters arrived back in town -- he's about 51 years old. he's been out doing the rounds. he's 51. jesse was his third wife, who he married in 1858. this is the only picture i could find. she's not 25. she was the local dark haired beauty, witty and intelligent, the daughter after prominent spring hill family and 25. besides the age difference which was twice between the two, the married couple were not well suited for each other. can you imagine, she wanted to go out and socialize and he wanted to sit at the house. well, you can see what's coming, don't you? all right. so the doctor had land holdings
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in arkansas. i think he had some plantations. van dorn and her get to know each other. dr. peters was present at some of these things. i mean, at the social gatherings. there was one time the doctor came home and there was a bunch of guests there, not just van dorn, and there was a big row upstairs did that and everybody left. rumors were starting, and van dorn, i think, moves. after dr. peters kicked everybody out of the party, the party busted up, van dorn moves to white hall. apparently jesse was not far behind him. and you got to remember that the people that owned this, they're good christian folk. and when you open the door up and jesse walks through and asks where the general is you're supposed to wait for him in the parlor. she's not waiting.
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she goes straight upstairs to his office, close the door and they don't come down for a couple of hours. you can't have that happening. so the misses takes sick, puts it on her husband to kick van dorn out. he moves down to the martin home, known as ferguson hall. dr. peters, who has been making sick calls, has found out there's something amiss, and he returned home to hear the story. well, old george peters did not appreciate that. so he's ready to go to find van dorn. there are two versions of this story. one is he found van dorn at his house. he came home unexpectedly. there was a driving rainstorm out there and van dorn came out -- he found him in the house and he dragged him out of the house, beat him up and stuck a gun to his head and van dorn told him to spare his life if he
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would come to the headquarters the next day he would write him a full confession. the second story -- that's how tying it all in at the end -- has dr. peters just going to headquarters and van dorn knowing nothing is up is amiss. whichever one you want to believe there. but anyway, regardless, this is true, he shows up at headquarters and van dorn is sitting at his desk and i can't imagine van dorn didn't know something was coming because he gets off a single shot to behind the left ear of earl van dorn. now why would you turn your back on a man that meant to harm you? so i believe that dr. peters, it would indicate, that dr. peters was simply attempting to get a pass to go through lines to make sick calls and the staff thought nothing about it when he went in
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there and to see the general, because that's nothing unusual, when he shot him. the staff, he got away. he made it to union lines, believe it or not. interestingly enough, i have to wrap this up. they're being very gracious with me. interestingly enough jesse gives birth to a baby girl on january 26, 1864. would you like to do the math with me? in 1866 dr. peters files for divorce citing abandonment on the date of may 7, 1863. the couple reconciled, though, a couple years later and george and jesse sold their springfield home in '73 and moved to memphis with george passing in 1889 and jesse. that would be an interesting
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grave to look up. the daughter reportedly took care of the doctor on his sick bed. that was the point of their splitting in the first place, i'm sure. in conclusion, the reported blood stains in the house today. in conclusion, the coverage of van dorn's death was mostly slanted to the allegiance of the publication. the murder, quote, of general van dorn, a con ick conspicuous traitor. the weekly herald said this man was a conspicuous traitor. he had not a particle of moral principle. he was deceiving alike friend and foe, false to his country, his god and his fellow man and a violent death was the national consequence of a life stained
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all over with violence. i don't think they liked him. i want to end this right where i began it. earl van dorn could not be buried in his hometown of port gibson because it was in federal hands. he was buried in the family plot, remember the girl i told you about in the very beginning, his wife. he's taken home to alabama, mount vernon, to be exact. an eyewitness reported as we watched the immense procession of soldiers, gorgeous array of white and black plumes that bore the grand casket in which the dead hero lay. the heartbroken wife, this cruelly widowed, his little daughter was the chief sorrower visible. the wife being too prostrated with grief to leave her room. do you believe it?
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do you believe it? would you show up if you were her? she can read. in november of 1899 emily miller with the help of her son t. marshall miller had her brother's body disinterred. both tombstones facing south. at port gibson the casket was reopened and after 30 years, would you like to know what they found? you always like that, don't you? when the coffin is opened. the remains were found to be in excellent state of preservation. quote, the form was clad in the confederate gray uniform of a major general, the belt buckles intact, and around his shoulders were the soft golden curls familiar to soldiers on 100
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battlefields as the intrepid warrior urged them to battle. ladies and gentlemen, the earl, mr. van dorn. thank you all. not too bad. i don't have any time for any questions. anybody got a quick one? >> a quick question or two? as tawdry as this tale is and with matt as the storyteller, imagine the version we would have got had his daughters not been here. one quick question. >> that's karma is what's sitting over there. >> would you consider overall van dorn to be an asset or a liability to the confederate cause? >> he's like anybody else, it depends on where you put him. i can say the same thing about myself. you would probably say the same
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thing about yourself. you have to put them in a place to succeed. there are some people you just can't put in a position. so in answer to the question i think he was an excellent cavalry man. he doesn't need to be in total control. no, he's too impetuous. he -- i don't know. it's the peter principle. he also, in his defense, he is the quintessential southern type general, the time the confederate general wants, an offensive minded general. and i think that comes from the indian fighting he learned on the plains where you attack, attack, attack, before the indians can get set. it's moving, moving, moving. fast paced. his larger battles if you noted what i said were pretty slow. >> ladies and gentlemen, matt
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atkinson. >> thank you very much. so how exactly did america get up to its neck in debt? >> we believe one of the greatest characteristics is striving to provide equal opportunity for all citizens. >> c-span's video documentary competition 2022. students across the country are giving us behind-the-scenes looks as they work on entries using #studentcam. you can join the conversation by entering the competition. create a five to six-minute documentary using c-span video clips that answer the question how does the federal government impact your life? >> be passionate about what you're discussing, to express your view no matter how large or small you think the audience who will receive it to be, and know that in the greatest country on
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the earth it does matter. >> content is king. be as neutral and impartial as possible in your portrayal of both sides of an issue. >> c-span has a grand prize of $5,000. entries must be received before january 20, 2022. for how to get started visit our website at studentcam.org. american history tv saturdays, exploring the people and events that tell the american story. historian and other scholars examine a fundamental question whether the united states needs a president. and then at 8:00 p.m. on "lectures in history" southern utah university professor laura
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june davis talks about confederate guerrilla attacks on those who sabotaged union vessels. watch american history tv saturdays on c-span2. and find a full schedule on your program guide or watch online at c-span.org/history. chris mackowski, he's the series editor of the award winning emerging civil war series published and the engaging civil war series. chris is a writing professor and, by the way, if you get a chance talk to him about coordinating conjunctions and oxford commas. you'll be there all day. st. bonaventure university in allegheny, new york, where he also serves as an

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