Commander, Army of the West

On January 10, 1862, Confederate President Jefferson Davis offered Mississippi-born Earl Van Dorn, command of the region west of the Mississippi River, known as the Trans-Mississippi. Two other generals, Henry Heth and Braxton Bragg had both turned down the command previously.  

Fiery and  impulsive, Van Dorn was a romantic, an accomplished painter, a poet and an excellent horseman.  In 1842, he graduated from West Point.  He ranked 52nd out of a class of 56, in a class that included 17 future Confederate and Federal generals. During the Mexican War, he was promoted twice for gallantry.  While serving on the frontier with the 2nd US Cavalry, he was wounded severely in the arm, stomach and lung. In 1860, he was promoted to Major. (The 2nd Cavalry was considered to be the Army's best.  The 2nd's other field officers were Colonel Albert Sydney Johnson, Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee, and  Major George H. Thomas, all of whom would gain fame during the Civil War.)

Prior to the Pea Ridge campaign, Van Dorn wrote home to his wife, "I am now in for it, to make a reputation and serve my country conspicuously or fail. I must not, shall not, do the latter. I must have St. Louis -- then Huzza!" After Pea Ridge, and again after Corinth, General "Damn Born" (as his men called him)  was accused of negligence, disregarding his men's welfare and failing to adequately plan his campaign.  After the disasterous battle of Corinth, MS, in October, 1862, he was sent before a court of inquiry. Although he was aquitted on all charges, he was never again trusted with the command of an army. He was given overall command of the cavalry operating around Vicksburg, MS. Several of his subordinates were Nathan Bedford Forrest, John Hunt Morgan and Joseph Wheeler. While there, his reputation as a womanizer became public.  A Vicksburg newspaper reporter referred to Van Dorn as "the terror of ugly husbands".  In 1863, he was shot in the back of the head by an outraged husband as he sat writing in his office in Spring Hill, TN. 

Van Dorn
Van Dorn: The Life and Times of a Confederate General
Biography of the flamboyant Earl Van Dorn, one of the most promising yet disappointing officers in the Confederate Army

Civil War Nurse Barbie
Civil War Nurse Barbie

Part of the American Stories Collection.
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Cavalry Sabre
Cavalry Saber
This fine replica is 39 inches overall and features a highly polished 33 inch carbon steel blade. Its leather wrapped handle fits the hand perfectly and sports decorative brass accents and a shiny brass pommel.

American Civil War Book Titles
Kindle Available
Staff Officers in Grey

Staff Officers in Gray: A Biographical Register of the Staff Officers in the Army of Northern Virginia
Profiles some 2,300 staff officers in Robert E. Lee's famous Army of Northern Virginia. A typical entry includes the officer's full name, the date and place of his birth and death, details of his education and occupation, and a synopsis of his military record. Two appendixes provide a list of more than 3,000 staff officers who served in other armies of the Confederacy and complete rosters of known staff officers of each general
Kindle Available
Class of 1846

The Class of 1846: From West Point to Appomattox: Stonewall Jackson, George McClellan, and Their Brothers
No single group of men at West Point has been so indelibly written into history as the class of 1846. The names are legendary: Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, George B. McClellan, Ambrose Powell Hill, Darius Nash Couch, George Edward Pickett, Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox, and George Stoneman
Kindle Available
Nathan Bedford Forrests Escort And Staff

Nathan Bedford Forrest's Escort And Staff
The CSA escort company and staff officers of Nathan Bedford Forrest were held in awe by men on both sides of the conflict during the war and long after, and they continue to be held in esteem as figures as legendary as Forrest himself. Not merely guards or couriers, these men were an elite force who rode harder and fought more fiercely than any others
Kindle Available

Nathan Bedford Forrest: A Biography
Nathan Bedford Forrest was one of the most interesting figures from the mid-19th Century. He was also one of the most controversial -- given his role as Confederate cavalryman, Fort Pillow, and the rise of the first KKK
Kindle Available
Wade Hampton

Wade Hampton: Confederate Warrior to Southern Redeemer
General Wade Hampton was for a time the commander of all Lee's cavalry and at the end of the war was the highest-ranking Confederate cavalry officer
Kindle Available
Jackson Maxims

Stonewall Jackson's Book of Maxims
While a cadet at West Point, Jackson collected maxims as part of his quest for status as a gentleman, and in the mid-1850s he carefully inscribed these maxims in a personal notebook, which disappeared after his death in 1863. In the 1990s, the author discovered the long-lost book of maxims in the archives of Tulane University
Kindle Available

Worthy Opponents: William T. Sherman and Joseph E. Johnston: Antagonists in War-Friends in Peace
If Confederate President Jefferson Davis had left Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, one of its most effective generals, in command of Atlanta's defenses, the city might have been preserved. Edward Longacre offers a new perspective on Sherman's and Johnston's military histories, including their clashes at Vicksburg, Kennesaw Mountain, and Bentonville
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Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain
Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain

At Cedar Mountain on August 9,1862, Stonewall Jackson exercised independent command of a campaign for the last time

U.S. Army Archives