Addison Hart - Hey! Just found out where Earl Van Dorn was shot! And it wasn't where several have hinted, it was in the back of the head and it took four hours for Van Dorn to die.
KyReb - Thought Van Dorn got shot in an upstairs office in the doc's house he was using for his HQ. Never new where he was thought or with whose gun.
Addison Hart - Yep. Van Dorn was like NY's horse.
KyReb - Wonder why they never tried the man who shot Van Dorn. Kind of makes one wonder if the stories of his fool'n round might be true
Addison Hart - Dr. Peters shot him in the back of the head with a small carbine pistol. Oh Van Dorn definantly fooled around.
KyReb - Never doubted that he did'nt fool around. The pistol must have had a soft load. Should have torn Van Dorn's skull half off.
Addison Hart - Van Dorn's killing wasn't even noticed until some time after Dr. Peters had left and the daughter of Martin Cheairs ran out shouting "THE DOCTOR HAS SHOT THE GENERAL!"
Addison Hart - Hi Student.
Addison Hart - Van Dorn's aides ran in to find Van Dorn slumped behind his wirting desk, blood everywhere over his papers, a hole in the back of his head. On closer inpection it appeared that the bullet had lodged in Van Dorn's head and not killed him instantly. In fact he died four and a half hours later.
KyReb - Can't believe no one did'nt hear the shot. Those pistols make a loud bark. Wonder if he shot through something to muffle the sound.
Addison Hart - Apparently Peters was a usual guest at the HQ and nobody was any the wiser when he left and came. He said he had come to Van Dorn who begged for his wife and desperately tried to write down a report exonerating Mrs. Peters of any guilt if he spared him. Van Dorn turned around to do so when Peters slurred an angry word at him and blew his brains out!
Addison Hart - In 12 seconds Van Dorn was everywhere!
KyReb - AH, understand and no offense, but something sounds mighty fishy bout the Van Dorn shooting.
Addison Hart - KY-- In what way? I too doubt that Van Dorn messin' with Peter's wife was the main motive, if it was the motive at all.
KyReb - AH, for one that no one heard the shot. Hell the sound inside would have been heard by anyone in the house and most likely close by outside too. Not to mention the smell of burned black powder.
raf1 - What are we talkin' about here?
Addison Hart - That's right KY!
Addison Hart - Like a conspiracy, KY.
Addison Hart - Raf-- The 'moider' of Earl Van Dorn.
raf1 - Huh. Could somebody tell me about that?
Addison Hart - Well, there's been on ongoing debate on exactly where Van Dorn was shot (do you know who Van Dorn was?). I discovered that it was the back of the head and it doesn't look much like the work of a jealous husband but a cleverly thought out murder.
KyReb - LOL AH, don't know bout conspiracy, but something does'nt quite sound right.
raf1 - No. Im afraid I dont know who he is. Thats why I asked.
raf1 - Could somebody tell me about him?
Addison Hart - Major General earl Van Dorn, CSA, bad general, naughty guy who messed around with women as did H00ker and Kilpatrick. Dr. Peters eventually blew his brains out enraged, so he said, that Van Dorn had been doing some very dispicable things with his wife. Interestingly enough, it appears the murder may have been for other reasons.
raf1 - Was he good on the battle field though?
Addison Hart - Van Dorn was a very poor commander on the field.
Addison Hart - Hey Xan-- We are exploring the possible 'conspiracy' against Van Dorn's wife...errr...life.
DRL - Addison Hart, what were the reasons?
Xan - Ahh, adultery, treachery and murder. Just the sort of nice relaxing subjects I need after a day like this one. Pray continue.
raf1 - Hmmmm. Thats too bad. What engagements was he in and whtat blunders has he made to be remebered as a very poor General?
Xan - Heya Raf..actually VanDorn had pulled off a couple of very slick moves, he was commander at the Holly Springs raid that set the Vicksburg campaign back nearly a year.
Ann - What are we talkin' about?
Addison Hart - Well, we know that Van Dorn was shot in the back of the head with a carbine pistol and yet none of his aides outside heard the shot. That no-one even noticed his shooting until the young daughter of the planatation owner discovered his body slumped over his papers, that he died four hours later, and that Dr. Peters really didn't give a good answer for what he had done.
raf1 - Oh yeah! Now I that I remember, I read a very lengthy section on him in Shelby Foots book 'The Beleaguered City'. Good book. Very informative.
Addison Hart - Van Dorn's only shining moment was Holly Springs, most of the time he was doing dumb things. His 'slick manuevers' got the enemy between his army and his supplies depot at Pea Ridge, which he lost in a brilliant defeat. ;) Later his scored again at Corinth with another brilliant massacre of his men. Wow!!
Xan - However (hastily consulting Boatner here) Van Dorn had earlier been blamed for overhasty retreating at Corinth vs. Rosecrans. Investigation exonerated him but you know that "honor" stuff.
Ann - Why did no body come to help him?
Xan - Ugh. One should not leave corpses lying around the house for children to find. That is in poor taste, IMHO.
Camp - Good Evenig
Ann - What slick manuevers?
KyReb - LOL Xan...don't forget Elkhorn (Pea Ridge).
Addison Hart - Ann-- No-one knew he was being shot. He might not have even known Peters was there. Odd though that the pistol shot was unheard.
raf1 - Guess nobody liked him Ann?
Addison Hart - Something else should be thought of, perhaps his own men were trying to get rid of him...
raf1 - Thats possible.
Ann - Hmmm treachery!
Addison Hart - Would explain why no-one heard the report of the carbine.
Xan - Addison, supposing your theory, how would these "own men" of Van Dorn's get Dr. Peters to play the part of the wounded husband?
Addison Hart - Yep!
Addison Hart - Perhaps Peters was a wounded husband.
Addison Hart - Would also explain why Dr. George B. Peters was never put on trial.
Roswell Ripley - Is it true that Van Dorn was related to Andrew Jackson?
DRL - It seems simpler for his own men to kill him during battle, could have been blamed on the enemy
KyReb - Two things to ponder. Van Dorn was shot inside a closed room with a black powder pistol. First the report inside the room would be like being under a bell that's being rung and had to be heard by anyone in the house or close by outside. Second the smoke from the black powder would have been like a fog in the room and smell like rotten cabbage not to mention the shooter smelling and third soldiers know the sound of guns going off and the smell of burned powder.
Addison Hart - DRL-- Van Dorn usually was in the rear doing battle, not much chance of him being killed there.
Addison Hart - Raf-- Nope.
Addison Hart - Yep, KY!
Roswell Ripley - Addison Hart, How was Van Dorn related to Andrew Jackson?
raf1 - KyReb. A regular Sherlock Holmes. lol
Addison Hart - Think he was not a very close realtive. Perhaps a distint cousin.
DRL - Who would have had the most to gain from his death, possibly by promotion or relief from debt.
KyReb - LOL not very likely raf, but I do know weapons.
Ann - Why do you bring up Andrew Jackson, Roswell?
Addison Hart - DRL-- Who? Why his men, who wouldn't be dragged into any more ridiculous attacks.
raf1 - Well. That knowledge does pay when your a Johnny reb. lol
Addison Hart - By promotion it would be Forrest and Wheeler but I doubt they would try to kill him.
raf1 - Also for a billy yank.
raf1 - Bedford Forrest would never do such a thing.
Addison Hart - But there's every bit as much reason for the North to kill Van Dorn, for his cavalry raids were effective.
KyReb - There's no mistaken the arid smell of burned black powder nor the report of a pistol go'n off. Black Powder is an explosive unlike modern gun powder that is a propellent.
Roswell Ripley - Just a thought ann.
Addison Hart - No, Bedford would not do that unless Van Dorn had reakky done something awful to him, and then he would probably just walk up to him and say: "You are no man, and if you were I'd slap you in the jaws" and just shoot the guy!
Addison Hart - Hello Shari! We are just discussin' why Van Dorn was really killed.
raf1 - Well Bedford was known to do rash things like that. lol
KyReb - LOL Forrest sense of Honor would have given Van Dorn a chance to defend himself before he killed him.
Xan - I did not know Peters was ever put on trial or even investigated Addison. I thought as soon as the charge that Van Dorn had "violated the sanctity of his home" was made the matter was dropped.
Addison Hart - Too true, KY, like take cover behind a whicker chair or something.
Addison Hart - True, Xan.
Addison Hart - ...or maybe Peters just cleared himself by 'temporary insanity'.
Ann - Where was Van Dorn killed?
KyReb - Seem to have read someplace that Van Dorn's killing was for gain...but can't remember where I read it.
KyReb - Spring Hill, Tn
KyReb - 7 May 1863
Xan - Actually I forget where I read it, something to do with Spring Hill, but there was a suggestion that it was MRS. Peters who was the brains of the outfit, either for Yankee benefit or her own. Dr. P. just did what he was told. I like a man like that.
Addison Hart - At the Martin Cheairs Plantation at Spring Hill TN. It was Martin's daughter that found the body.
raf1 - Was VanDorns Cavalry involved with the Army Of Northern Virginia?
Addison Hart - Xan-- Hmmmm...
Ann - What was Van Dorn doin' there?
KyReb - LOL Xan, I know...I know who done it! It was that darn Sharpshooter!
shari - LOL, Xan, and they're sooo hard to find nowadays!!!
raf1 - Ahhh. Ok. That ruins my theory then.
Addison Hart - Ann--- He was using the Plantation for his headquarters, but little did he knwo that it would cost Van Dorn his own headquarters, literally...
Addison Hart - Raf-- What theory?? Quick! Tell us!!
Xan - ROTFLMAO, KyReb! You got it....there was a Yankee spy in a tree outside Van Dorn's study, and the window was open just a little bit...boom! Death By Sharpshooter strikes again.
raf1 - You see. You know how Jeb Stuarts Cavalry was in that army? Well maybe ol' Jeb had a little somethin' to do with it. Hee hee.
Ann - what about Martain didn't he have a say about it?
Addison Hart - Darn Sharpshooters!
Addison Hart - Nah, Raf.
Xan - I remember, it was speculated at the later battle of Spring Hill, the night before Franklin in fact, Mrs. Peters might have been having her way with another Confederate general. Dr. P. was conveniently out of town.
raf1 - Well just a theory. lol
Addison Hart - Ann-- Not much, gave a quick report on what happened and that was it. His daughter was genuinely horrified when she opened the door and saw the slumped figure in the chair.
Addison Hart - Xan-- Hood?
Addison Hart - Yeah, it was AOT who discovered that the Peter's house was the HQ for Spring Hill.
KyReb - LOL Xan...don't think the Doc would have messed with Hood. He might have been screwed up, but Hood could be dangerous.
Addison Hart - Earl Van Dorn was born 17th September 1820 at Port Gibson, MS. 52nd in the Class of '42 at West Point. Not very good grade.
raf1 - Hood didnt lose his arm yet at the time did he?
Addison Hart - Hood lost his arm (or the use of it) at G-Burg. Lost his leg at C-Mauga.
Ann - Where did he loss his head AH?
Xan - Yup, Addison, that was the speculation. Lowry has a pretty convincing report from a Richmond gingerbread that Hood was uninjured in those body parts required for manly urges.
raf1 - When was VanDorn shot again?
shari - LOL, Ann, lost his head=morphine....or one could say Franklin....
Addison Hart - They did say that Van Dorn served with distinction at Mexico. Captain 2nd Cavalry. Gained national reputation for his exploits against the Comanchees. Resigned from US Army January 1861. Colonel, CSA, commanding in TX, assisted McCullogh in the surrender of Twiggs in February.
Addison Hart - Van Dorn died May 17th, 1863.
KyReb - Hell Xan...its important to a man and glad to hear ole Hood's plumbing was working.
Addison Hart - Boy, this is actually interesting!
DRL - At what range would a blackpowder weapon leave powder burns
raf1 - Well then Hood couldnt have lost the use of his arm at that tme because it was before G-burg.
Ann - Peters was proven guilty wasn't he?
Addison Hart - June 5th Brigadier General, Spetember 19th Major General. Given Trans-Mississippi Departemnt. Ol' Van Dorn was progressing, eh?
KyReb - 17th of May? Thought it was 7 May.
Ann - for the murder of Van Dorn that is.....
Addison Hart - KYREB-- Want to take on DRL's question?
Addison Hart - Ann- He confessed but was never punished.
Addison Hart - Sorry, that's May 7th.
Ann - That isn't fair!
Addison Hart - Van Dorn was the defeated at Pea Ridge and Corinth. Interestingly enough, during both fights he was in an ambulance travelling in the rear.
shari - DRL, you mean on the victim, right?
Ann - Why wasn't he punished?
Addison Hart - I know, Ann. Odd.
DRL - Yes
Addison Hart - He was Court Martialed for Corinth, with charges including drunkness, but was exonerated. The man who had asked for the courtmartial was Brigadier General John Bowen, who from then on hated Van Dorn. Bowen died a little after Vicksburg of dyherria. Van Dorn was sent to cavalry command and actually did well at Holly Springs Raid, where he destroyed Garnt's Supply Train. He again fared well at Thompson's Station, though this battle was fought mainly by Nathan Bedford Foorest.
KyReb - DRL depends on the if its a musket or pistol and the charge of powder. Figure with a musket say at 30 feet will give powder burns to to the explosive nature of black powder and also any powder not exploded may enter the clothes and wound. With a pistol my guess is 20 feet. Tomorrow I'll go outside and fire my mine at a dummy target to be sure of the range.
raf1 - Forrest probably did all the work then. lol
Addison Hart - On May 7th, 1863, Van Dorn has his HQ at the Cheair Plantation. That morning, Dr. George B. Peters arrived on a horse and the guards didn't take this as odd, for Peters often came here. Peters left soon afterward.A little later, Cheair's daughter walked into the HQ and ran out shouting: "THE DOCTOR HAS SHOT THE GENERAL!"
Ann - Everyone in here probably
Xan - Addison, from whence comes this quote?
DRL - I assume that a shot from 2 inches would have left a burn noticeably worse that one from 20 feet
Addison Hart - His men arrived inside to discover Van Dorn slumped over his papers, a hole in the back of his head. A small carbine pistol bullet was lodged in his head. Van Dorn was carried to a bed where he died four and a half hours later.
Ann - HQ?
raf1 - HQ=HeadQuarters ann.
KyReb - Come to think of it...if Van Dorn was shot in back of the head at close range...his hair would have been burned and even smoldering.
Addison Hart - Alethea Sayer's 'Road to Dishonor' is where I found the quote. This essay appeared in the magazine ONE NATION DIVIDED. It's an excellent essay.
Addison Hart - HQ = Headquarters.
DRL - Did the shot penetrate the skull?
Ann - Thanks raf, addison
Addison Hart - Unless of course Peters had silenced the pistol by placing a pillow or something in front of it. Even a hankercheif could do perhaps. Or at least muffle the sound a little.
Ann - Hey I was right!
shari - yep, KY, with the muzzle flash and all....you'd think he'd be a little singed.
Addison Hart - DRL-- Yes, it was lodged in the area of his forehead (which means it weant pretty far)!
Ann - Why didn't the daughter hear the shot?
DRL - Another thing is how did the child know that the doctor had shot the general if a large amount of time had elapsed
Addison Hart - Ann-- She only just walked in about half an hour after Peters had gone, probably less than that.
Xan - LOL Addison, I was trying to picture screwing a silencer onto a 1860s pistol. I think the pillow might work better. although it would attract attention as evidence.
Ann - Then how did she know that the "Doctor" had shot him???
Addison Hart - Odd that, DRL.
Addison Hart - Yes, true, Xan.
Addison Hart - Ann-- Presumably because she was playing in the front of the house and had seen him enter and leave.
shari - how old was the daughter?
Ann - Thanks AH
raf1 - Or maybe because she had a cut of the deal Addison. lol
DRL - Maybe no shot was heard while the doctor was there because non was fired. He may have been shot earlier
Addison Hart - Shari-- Just young, I guess 10 or 11.
Addison Hart - DRL-- Excellent point, in whcih case it probably was one of his men.
Jean - What is everyone talkin about?
Addison Hart - Jean-- The Murder of General Van Dorn, May 7th, 1863, Spring Hill, Tennessee.
shari - Hmm, good point, DRL...and who would have known back then, not much in the way of forensics...
DRL - Could have been a member of the plantation household or even the doctor on a earlier visit
Addison Hart - Certainly, DRL.
DRL - Could have also been the good doctors wife. He just made an apperance to take the rap
Addison Hart - Hey Bill N-T! Just having a friendly chat about MURDER OF EARL VAN DORN!!!
Addison Hart - DRL-- BTW, her name was Jessie Peters.
Addison Hart - So who killed Major General Earl Van Dorn on May 7th, 1863? We may never know, a probably will never know.
Ann - But Peters confessed AH??
Addison Hart - Hi Bluelady-- Just missed an interesting new look on the Van Dorn Murder.
bluelady - Van Dorn.....Murder?
Addison Hart - Yeah, Bluelady-- When Earl Van Dorn was shot in the head.
Jean - I'm always missing out the good stories!!
Addison Hart - Jean-- What did you miss?
bluelady - But that was in battle, wasn't it Addison?
Jean - I missed a lot, Addison.
shari - nope, bluelady, cold-blooded murder....
Addison Hart - Bluelady-- Van Dorn was shot in his HQ May 7th, 1863, and though Dr. peters confessed nobody is sure if he really did it.
Jean - Especially not knowing what my great great grandfather and his brother did in their war time!