Camp Van Dorn – A Camera Trip Through Camp Van Dorn (PDF)




History of Camp Van Dorn ……. This is Camp Van Dorn. Its photographic pages reproduce scenes that are etched in our memory of Army Life. Camp Van Dorn, which is located about two miles from Centerville, at one time comprised a number of large plantations, with schools, churches, and cemeteries. While located in the battle area of the Civil War, no major engagements were fought here. Construction was begun in June 1942 and was ready for occupancy on the day of Activation, September 20, 1942. Only the old road from Centerville ran through Camp on that date. Today concrete highways connect Camp with McComb, Natchez, and Baton Rouge. While the Camp residential and work areas form but a small part of the Camp, within its boundaries are many areas for maneuvers as well as artillery and other firing ranges. General Van Dorn, after whom the Camp is named, led a colorful life. Born in Mississippi in 1820, he entered West Point at 16. In the War with Mexico he took part in Scott’s Campaign in Mexico, with the 7th Infantry, emerging a Brevet Major. In 1855 he once more distinguished himself against the Comanche and Apache Indians. When, in 1861, Mississippi left the Union, Van Dorn resigned his Commission in the U. S. Army and offered his services to the Confederacy. It was due to his efforts that the first Confederate naval prize, a U. S. steamer, “Star of the West”, was captured at Galveston, Texas. The defense of Vicksburg, in 1862, under his brilliant direction resulted in the cutting of Grant’s supply line at Holly Springs, thus causing Union forces to withdraw, thereby lifting the siege. His record, both in the service of the U. S. and in the Confederacy, demonstrated his ability as an outstanding leader in military affairs. We of Camp Van Dorn feel that his spirit of leadership and military tactics guides our steps and lends a helping hand in our preparations for the future.