Where Elephants Fought

About The Movie

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Our Mission

Our Mission for this project is to produce an independent feature film based on the book Where Elephants Fought, written by one of our own - screenwriter/producer Bridget Smith.  The film will depict one of the greatest mysteries of the American Civil War - the murder of Confederate General Earl Van Dorn.  The book encompasses over 25 years of research and reveals the REAL reason for the General's murder - a fact hidden for over 150 years

Our Plan

Our initial Plan for Where Elephants Fought is to raise enough money to get our project off the ground and allow us to meet with potential investors.  We plan to produce the film OURSELVES, thus preserving the integrity of our story - which, after all, is most important to us. With YOUR HELP, we can at last answer that gnawing question: Why did the doctor shoot the general?  We will shoot the film primarily in Tennessee & Mississippi, which will allow us to take advantage of the tax credits. We will submit our independent feature film to the most prestigious film festivals and strike a distribution deal that will allow our film to be seen around the world.

The Story

Where Elephants Fought is the story of the murder of Confederate General Earl Van Dorn on May 7, 1863. During the tragic days of the American Civil War, the handsome, playboyGeneral Van Dorn struck up an affair with the beautiful Jessie Peters, wife of wealthy physician and planter, George Peters. During the course of their whirlwind affair, the handsome General Van Dorn set his sites on yet another. Unfortunately, the general would not fare so well with this affair... After months on the run, Dr. George Peters is captured at his niece's plantation in the Mississippi Delta. He is taken before a judge in Meridian, Mississippi, where he is ultimately released. The doctor is never charged with murder. For years, historians have wrestled with the reasons for the doctor's release. Their answer - this was merely an honor killing. And in 19th century America, such a killing would have been justified.  But, was there more to the story? Was there yet another reason Dr. Peters got away with murder? YES!! And Where Elephants Fought provides the startling revelation that forever changes American History

Risks and challenges

Every project comes with its own unique risks and challenges. Our film is no different, except it is an epic civil war period piece, which basically multiplies those risks and challenges by about 155 years.


One of the biggest challenges we shall face will be our overwhelming desire to shoot parts of the film in Tennessee and parts in Mississippi.  The  murder took place at Ferguson Hall in Spring Hill, Tennessee - the actual location still stands today and is in pristine condition.  General Van Dorn's raid at Holly Springs is also in our script, and the infrastructure in Holly Springs, MS makes it an ideal location as well.     


Have no fear, we are up for the challenge. Both of our producers have been residents of Mississippi for a combined 50+ years, which has allowed them to build relationships that will help eliminate many risks and cut unnecessary spending, thus putting more money on the screen.


We also have the best two producers we could ask for to achieve the Spring Hill, TN shoot as cost efficient as possible. Britton attended film school in Nashville, TN at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, where he still has many film related connections. Additionally, Bridget is originally from Columbia, TN, right outside of Spring Hill. Therefore, if it can be done, we know they can do it.  We ask that you continue to donate in order to help us deliver the accuracy and epic detail this project deserves.

Inspiration

  • Bottom line: WEF changes American history.
  • For over 150 years, historians missed it – until now. The story of the murder of Confederate General Earl Van Dorn has long been clouded in mystery and doubt. 
  • Although evidence clearly supports the theory that Van Dorn had an affair with the beautiful Jessie Peters, it also reveals a more sinister motive for the general’s murder. 
  • Given the wealth and power of the highly connected Peters family, it is easy to see how such a notorious family secret could remain hidden for a century and a half
  • General Van Dorn was the only Confederate General murdered by a civilian during the course of the Civil War.
  • The facts of the murder were hidden for over 150 years.
  • Though he confessed to the murder, Dr. George Peters was never charged with a crime.

Related Articles/Reviews

  • “Rambling Death of a Frat Boy,” by John Banks. Civil War Times, Dec. 2018.
  • “Murder, she wrote: Author’s Obsession is Notorious Van Dorn.” John Banks Civil War Blog. October 2018 (john-banks.blogspot.com) 
  • “Why Was General Van Dorn Murdered,” by Samuel W. Mitcham. (Book Review of Where Elephants Fought: The Murder of Confederate General Earl Van Dorn) Abbeville Institute, AbbevilleInstitute.org.