This Week in the Civil War - 567

May 10, 2013

On May 7, 1863 scandal rocked the Confederate States of America when Major General Earl Van Dorn in his headquarters at Spring Hill, Tennessee was shot once in the back of the head, killing him instantly. 

The gunman, Dr. James Bodie Peters, claimed that Van Dorn had carried on an affair with his wife, Jessie McKissack Peters.  A blatant womanizer, Van Dorn was dubbed "the terror of ugly husbands" by a reporter shortly before his death. 

Peters was arrested by Confederate authorities but was never brought to trial for the killing.  In defense of his actions, Dr. Peters stated that Van Dorn had "violated the sanctity of his home” and that his honor compelled him to act.  Van Dorn was buried next to his father at Wintergreen Cemetery, Port Gibson. Mississippi.