Wednesday, August 8, 2001

Camp Van Dorn: Military Mystery

Written by: Darren Dedo
Case Filed: 08/08/01 - Centreville, Mississippi
Executive Producer: Rick Garner
Part 1 of 4



It's been 58-years since an alleged atrocity happened at Camp Van Dorn in Centreville, Mississippi. Several people claim over one-thousand black soldiers were slaughtered by white military policemen.

 
Author Carroll Case wrote "The Slaughter," a book about the infamous incident. "The story is basically that the Army could not deal with a group of soldiers, the 364th - all black group, and they had to find a solution. I believe, I state in my book, the solution was to kill these men and to hide them, hide their bodies and to cover the story up."


Case said he was told by a former Camp Van Dorn Military Policemen Bill Martzell that MP's killed 1,227 black soldiers, then buried them somewhere near the base. The Army denies the incident ever happened. Army Lt. Col. Charles Graul, a military historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History, says, "There isn't a shred of credible evidence that any unusual activity occurred at Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi."

There are lots of discrepancies in this tale. Some say it happened in Spring, others in Summer, or early Fall. The consistency to this story, the incident supposedly happened in 1943.

We found a source close to Camp Van Dorn. A man, who we'll call "Mister X", says he knew the men who killed the soldiers. He says the black soldiers became angry after being denied access to a dance in town. They got drunk and wanted revenge. "Mister X" wasn't present the day of the shooting, but says after talking and eventually working with five Camp Van Dorn MPs, he knows exactly what happened.

"They set up 30 caliber machine guns on both sides of the tracks, and these soldiers came up the railroad tracks heavily armed, cussing, gonna kill white people. They got in between these banks. They opened up the machine guns, killed a number of them, and the others ran."

The Army says stories like Mister X's are urban legends grown out of control. During their investigation, they talked with some former members of the 364th who say that a shooting never happened.

"Not a single person had heard of this incident, or could name a soldier who might have disappeared under unusual circumstances," says Graul.

In our search for the unexplained, we found two more men of the 364th that the Army didn't interview. Their accounts shed even more light on what might have happened at Camp Van Dorn. Next Wednesday night, we'll speak with these two veterans as his investigation continues.

Additional Resources:




"Betty" Full Video Interview


Malcolm LaPlace Full Video Interview


"Mister X" Full Video Interview


Lt. Col. Charles Graul: Full Video Interview


Author Carroll Case: Full Video Interview


Ron Caulfield: Full Video Interview


Paige Cothren: Full Video Interview


Dr. Lucius Lampton: Full Video Interview


Edythe Lensing: Full Video Interview


Theodore Bullock: Full Video Interview


NEW Congressman Bennie Thompson Letter