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Major General Irvin Mcdowell Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: October 15, 1818
Died: May 04, 1885
Biography | show moreshow less
Irwin McDowell (1818-1885), a West Point graduate in 1838, served as aide-de-camp to General John Wool during the Mexican War, brevetted to captain after the Battle of Buena Vista (1846). After the war, as shown in the letter, he served in the Adjutant General's officer, promoted to major in 1856. At the beginning of the Civil War, now a brigadier general, he was chosen to lead the Union Army's advance into northern Virginia, though he had never held a field command. His plans were overly complex for an untrained army, and at the First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas to the Confederacy) the Union advance was routed. He suffered misfortune again as a corps commander at Second Bull Run in 1862, another Union defeat, which he blamed on a court martialed subordinate, Fitz John Porter. A review board established by President Hayes in 1879 exonerated Porter and blamed McDowell for the defeat. He retired from the army in1881, serving as San Francisco's park commissioner until his death.

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