Tuesday, May 4, 2010

He Lost The First Battle

Brigadier General Irvin McDowell who was defeated at First Bull Run / First Manassas died May 4th 1885.

Irvin McDowell was born October 15th 1818 in Columbus Ohio. He started his college education in France at the College de Troyes, but then went on to graduate from West Point Military Academy in 1838. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the 1st United State Artillery. He was a tactics instructor at West Point. During the Mexican American War McDowell served as aide-de-camp to General John E Wool.

On May 14th 1861 McDowell was given a promotion to Brigadier General. He was placed in command of the Union Army of Northeastern Virginia through connection with Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P Chase. Even though he knew his troops were green and not ready for battle McDowell bent to the pressures of Washington and launched an offensive against the Confederates. His strategy for winning First Bull Run was complicated and his soldiers much to inexperienced, resulting in an humiliating Union loss.

After the loss at Bull Run, McDowell was replaced by Major General George B McClellan. McDowell was placed in command of the 1st Corps, which was placed in defense of Washington DC. Latter three of McDowell’s commands would be combined and moved into Major General John Pope’s Union Army of Virginia, where McDowell would lead the 3rd Corps. After another failure at Second Manassas, McDowell was exiled from leadership in the Army. He was placed in command of the Department of the Pacific.

Following the end of the Civil War McDowell commanded the Fourth Military district which included Arkansas and Louisiana during the years of Reconstruction. In 1872 he was promoted to Major General in the United States Regular Army. He retired from military service in 1882. McDowell died May 4th 1885 in San Francisco California, were he is buried in the Presidio.

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