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rickd79
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Earl Van Dorn

Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:58 pm

Earl Van Dorn

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Van_Dorn

139 CSA Earl Van Dorn ldr_CSA_VanDorn3 $Cavalryman $Indian_Fighter NULL NULL 15 20 3 6 General 1 NULL 6 1 0
153 CSA Earl Van Dorn ldr_CSA_VanDorn2 $Cavalryman $Indian_Fighter NULL NULL 10 10 2 9 General 1 NULL 6 1 0
177 CSA Earl Van Dorn ldr_CSA_VanDorn $Cavalryman $Indian_Fighter NULL NULL 5 5 1 4 General 1 NULL 6 1 0

I'd be interested what people have to say about Earl Van Dorn.

1. I think the 6 for "Strategic" might need to be dropped....but I wouldn't drop it too far. 4 or 5 seems better...his strategic initiative wasn't bad, and at least one of his plans was pretty imaginative (Pea Ridge)....just not well executed.

Other than that, his stats seem about right.

Chris0827
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Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:28 pm

I would give him adept raider. As an infantry commander he was mostly good at causing confederate casualties but he did well when he got a cavalry command. His raids were responsible for turning back Grant's overland campaign against Vicksburg.

lycortas
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Dorn

Tue May 13, 2008 12:50 am

Everyone hates Van Dorn. hmm. Lee took bazillions of casualties in his first offensive battle as well, but i do not see us rating him 6-1-0.

I think Van Dorn was not brilliant, but was fairly smart and understood the idea of war better than most officers.

Pea Ridge was lost partially by Van Dorn overestimating what his troops could do but that is hardly something he was unique in attempting.
McCulloch's death caused his wing to disintegrate without even trying to fight which cannot be blamed on Van Dorn. The attack was audacious and if it had succeded, which it may have if McCulloch had not died, we would all be calling him a genius.

His cavalry raids were every bit as good as Forrest and almost as good as Morgan's.

Van Dorn 5-3-2
Van Dorn2 4-2-1
same traits.

Mike

woodcojb
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Van Dorn

Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:58 pm

deleted as SPAM

RebelYell
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Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:02 pm

Simple questiin, why is Van Dorn not a cavalryman in CW2? One thing he was good at, forgetting the womanizing.. :neener:

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Ol' Choctaw
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Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:35 pm

It may be better that he is a ranger and gives a movement bonus in rough terrain.



now
lycortas wrote:Everyone hates Van Dorn. hmm. Lee took bazillions of casualties in his first offensive battle as well, but i do not see us rating him 6-1-0.

I think Van Dorn was not brilliant, but was fairly smart and understood the idea of war better than most officers.

Pea Ridge was lost partially by Van Dorn overestimating what his troops could do but that is hardly something he was unique in attempting.
McCulloch's death caused his wing to disintegrate without even trying to fight which cannot be blamed on Van Dorn. The attack was audacious and if it had succeded, which it may have if McCulloch had not died, we would all be calling him a genius.

His cavalry raids were every bit as good as Forrest and almost as good as Morgan's.

Van Dorn 5-3-2
Van Dorn2 4-2-1
same traits.

Mike




What I will say about Van Dorn is that he was a very active commander.

You may not know it but Van Dorn took command of the Army of the West from a bed in an ambulance wagon, and from there is where he fought the battle.

Now that is an active commander! He should be at the very least a 5 if not a 6.

But that is where the good part ends.

He was not a planer. He did most everything on impulse. To him he had begun a campaign to take St. Louis.

He had no plan for Pea Ridge. The battle was supposed to be in Bentonville. McCulloch’s scouts said that would block the two wings of the Union forces and keep them from joining up. So that turned out to be his plan, that and to leave his supplies to catch up later. They stared the march an hour after he arrived. Then came the Arkansas Ice Storm. But that didn’t stop him.

His impulsiveness is what cost the Confederates the victory at Pea Ridge. It was fought in cold, sleet, and ice. The troops and animals were not fed for the last 2 and a half days before the battle and had little ammunition because Van Dorn thought the supply wagons would slow him down.
The supply wagons were less than 5 miles from where he was, they just didn’t know where to find him and he didn’t bother to tell them or stay in contact.

The conditions on the three and a half day march devastated the men and yet at the end they made a night forced march to be in position by daylight.

This surprised the Union who were facing the wrong direction, but then he gave them an hour and a half before he attacked, which allowed them to shift 180° and through up new breastworks.

His men were dead on their feet but obeyed the order to attack. They pretty much fought until their ammo was gone, and then the army melted away. They went in search of food and ammunition. Many never returned. Cohesion was lost when McCulloch died and the leadership of his division were all killed or wounded. Price’s division never had much cohesion to start with and were the reason for the delay.

So! Yes the 6-1-0 was pretty right from the start.

RebelYell
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Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:57 pm

Yes, he was a bit manic.

His troops didnt like him laying on that ambulance, they said he was just drunk.
But he really was in a fever, that could have also influenced his performance.

I kinda like the Van Dorn plan for St Louis. :bonk:
McCulloch was against it, probably wisely so. Do you know what strategy McCulloch wanted to pursue in this theater?

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Ol' Choctaw
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Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:02 am

The Army did not have the supplies to reach St Louis. The Missouri troops were in poor condition when they arrived in Arkansas. The Indian Brigade lacked proper weapons and many of the troops yet had no shoes.

There was really no way they were going to make St Louis in that condition. The Missouri troops were also a rag tag and undisciplined in McCulloch’s view. Most of their officers were politicians without military experience. McCulloch had trained his troops into a tight cohesive force.

Some historians have said it was the best the Confederacy had, possibly in the whole war. His troops were generally well supplied.

McCulloch saw his role as the strategic defense of the IT and Northwestern Arkansas. There was also a strong division sized force in eastern Missouri keeping the Union from marching down river.

He knew Curtis could not continue as long as there was a threat to his supply lines and could be out flanked and sent back to Missouri.

Price wanted to take St Louis and secure Missouri for the CSA. This appealed to Van Dorn’s glory seeking. He wrote to his wife; “My plan is to take St Louis, and then Huzza!”

Had Van Dorn’s forces been supplied they wouldn’t need to fight. Curtis was pined against a bluff on Sugar Creek cut off from his own supply. They could have starved him into surrender.

Curtis was only able to continue on because after Pea Ridge, there was no Confederate forces between him and where ever he could go. His main problem was staying in supply. He could not take Little Rock because his supply could not reach that far, but he could supply himself to reach Helena on the river but to do that, he had to sever his supply lines and live off the land for two weeks.


Van Don’s only plan was take St Louis and Huzza!

Davis promoted him (his third choice) because he was his neighbor and a close friend. McCulloch was no. 2 of all Brigadier Generals and also a Major General in the Texas Militia, so directing Price to place himself under McCulloch’s command would have been the wiser choice. Giving him the whole Transmisissippi would have been wiser, but Davis didn’t like McCulloch because he was a friend of Sam Huston (and Davis was likely the reason Huston wanted nothing to do with the Confederacy).

Without McCulloch’s reconnaissance reports Van Dorn would have had to stay put in the Boston Mountains. They really didn’t know what sized force they were dealing with. Price heard 60,000 as he ran out of Missouri but McCulloch was constantly scouting and getting a handle of the numbers.

Early reports had forced the Confederates to abandon winter quarters and pull back to Fayetteville, which the Missouri troops looted. Price tried to intervene but was ignored by the troops. They had abandoned their supplies in Missouri and those supplies fell into the hands of the Federals.

In view of the supply situation and the bad weather, it would have been wiser to have taken a wait an see approach than to rush into a battle.

What he did after the battle was even worse. He stripped everything from Arkansas, shipping away everything of use, and some things of no use at all, and sent it to Mississippi. Most of it was lost in shipment and never showed up. But Arkansas was denuded of any means to resist. Hindman had to rebuild everything. And Van Dorn had never told anyone what he had done.

Sorry to be so long winded.

If you want to know more on McCulloch you will need to read some of his biographies.

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Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:19 am

Wow, great post :thumbsup: .

I would only comment on the proposal to raise his strategic rating. In my mind, strategic rating means not only if he was active commander, it means if he was sound commander able to grasp strategic situation. In that light, I would leave his strategic rating as it is.

In game terms higr str rating means he can evade battle, or even choose not to go to battle if the odds are not favorable. That is good commander. Imagine this situation, his CiC(aka the player) orders him to take a city, but in 15 day time, enemy has reinforced it with unexpected reinforcements. High strategic rating commander would opt out of assault if it had no chance of success unless ordered to attack at all costs.

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Ol' Choctaw
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Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:54 am

That is partly true, but he did a good job as a Cavalry Commander. Partly it was his subcontinents but he could pick and choose his fights.

Though he would be deserving of the Hothead trait.

RebelYell
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Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:02 am

Thanks for that. :)

Van Dorn reacted in Pea Ridge to Curtis going after Price, clearly a mistake.

His original plan was that Price would demonstrate to Curtis at going to Rolla but swing south of it to connect with Van Dorn and McCulloch coming from Pocahontas to eastern Missouri with two divisions.

They would continue along the river to St Louis, sending cavalry all over to screen and destroy bridges to slow down Union reaction.

Mainly the IT troops with Pike would guard the supply to NW Arkansas and the Kansas border, also demonstrating if needed.

The combined force of Van Dorn, McCulloch and Price would take St.Louis by surprise and speed, Beauregard offered to move for Cairo in the same time.

When St. Louis was in CSA hands they would send raiders even in Illinois and cause maximum havoc to tie down Union troops, most likely to win some time to secure the supply line back to Arkansas.


Dont know about its merits as a whole, with the supply situation and all, but they where waiting for good weather and you would think supplies also.

This was the Van Dorn plan if Curtis would have stayed passive but he was active, possibly being aware of these plans he pursued Price.


Price used this plan partly in his invasion turned raid in -64 and gathered some 6000 volunteers along the way.

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Ol' Choctaw
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Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:49 pm

Never heard all that. Where did you find it?

Curtis did move east but nearly starved before he reached Batesville. He made a thrust towards Little Rock but was stopped by partisans and supplies, so he turned and ran for Helena fearing the troops in eastern Arkansas, the ones who had already gone to Shiloh.

RebelYell
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Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:20 pm

Ol' Choctaw wrote:Never heard all that. Where did you find it?

Curtis did move east but nearly starved before he reached Batesville. He made a thrust towards Little Rock but was stopped by partisans and supplies, so he turned and ran for Helena fearing the troops in eastern Arkansas, the ones who had already gone to Shiloh.


http://www.amazon.com/Van-Dorn-Times-Confederate-General/dp/0826512542

:)

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caranorn
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Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:51 pm

As far as I recall Van Dorn had never seen his command and knew very little about it when he set forces in march for what would ultimately be the battle of Pea Ridge (or Leetown and Elkhorn Tavern). While that certainly shows initiative, it does not make for a good plan. One thing to note is that the Missourians were in full reorganisation (two (three? writing out of memory) confederate brigades being formed out of parts if the State Guard). Pike's command was late to arrive (as he had to persuade his troops to leave the Indian Territory as most were convinced (I don't know the facts about this, I'm sure ol'Choctaw knows) they had enlisted for service within the territory only. Iirc two recently arrived Arkansas regiments were without arms (one even without uniforms) and the idea was to arm them from Union stocks in Missouri), they were among the forces left behind with the supply train (including about half of Pike's brigade, at least two artillery batteries and some cavalry)...

I generally also agree with Ol'Choctaw's view of the Missourian's role in the march up to Elkhorn Tavern. Though on the second day at least the regulars, but also some of the state guard seem to have performed well.

Other than a certain recklessness of commanders in McCulloch's division (by the way, Hébert was only captured, neither wounded nor killed) the fate of the battle at Leetown can otherwise not be blamed on Van Dorn, there was a lot of bad luck involved. When do you ever have the situation where the three most senior officers of a force are killed or captured at almost the same moment for an incompetent (in military terms) officer outside the command structure to assume command and leaving half the brigade on the field unengaged while the actual next in command is not notified of events. Greer (second in McIntosh's brigade) was with his regiment in the rear all that time, assuming he was still only 4th in command he waited for orders until he realised all fighting had ceised at Leetown, when he sent one of his officers in search of McCulloch or McIntosh only to find that his seniors were all dead or missing and half his new command had snuck off the field of battle (he only learned later that Pike had ordered them off), so all he could do at that point was roundup the rest of his command (Pike had managed to lose one of his own regiments too, of which Greer apparently knew nothing, so that one of the two Cherokee regiments stayed on the field overnight) and march to join Van Dorn...
Marc aka Caran...

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Ol' Choctaw
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Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:45 pm

That plan sounds very complete for such a short consultation.

It took him only 4 day to reach Memphis, and that was with a stopover to consult with A.S. Johnston.

I think it took another two weeks to make it to the other side of the state, with him falling through the ice while waiting for the ferry at Du Vall’s Bluff. He took a fever overnight and was in an ambulance wagon for the rest of the trip.

I understood he was only in camp for an hour before setting out for Bentonville.

He was a small unit commander that was a bit beyond his depth managing all those troops.

Most of Pea Ridge was bad luck and bad weather.

It is just my opinion but I think the attack should have been called off in Bentonville. The men were in need of food and rest and they had lost many men to exhaustion and the cold on the way there.

While the Confederates may have had more men, on paper, I doubt they did after that night march.



The Indian troops were not bound to fight outside the territories. They took a vote, just as they would every other time they left, and went to help the boy in Arkansas.


The men were just beyond their limits, commanders too.

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