General Van Dorn

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General Van Dorn
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Van Dorn, General Earl
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The historical figure Earl Van Dorn was a Major General who led Confederate forces during much of the fighting in Mississippi until he was murdered in 1863 by a man claiming that Van Dorn was having an affair with his wife. On 20 December 1862 he led a successful attack on General Grant's military supplies at Holly Springs, Mississippi, which was relocated by Faulkner to Jefferson in the novel Light in August, where it becomes the event in which Reverend Hightower's grandfather is killed. Van Dorn's name is mentioned by Will Falls in Flags in the Dust and by Colonel Sartoris in The Unvanquished, and called out by the great-grandfather of the narrator of "Shall Not Perish," a Confederate veteran, while the old man dozes "in his chair under the mulberry in the yard or on the sunny end of the front gallery or in his corner by the hearth" (112).