Battle of First Bull Run Online Exhibit
General Irvin McDowell
Caption: General [Irvin] M'Dowell (photographed by Brady)
Source: Illustration and text from Harper's Weekly, August 17, 1861, page 516.
Brig.-Gen. M'Dowell, U.S.A.
General Irvin M'Dowell, whose portrait will be found above, is a native of Ohio, from which State he was appointed to a cadetship in the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1834. He graduated in July, 1838, and was immediately promoted to the rank of Brevet Second Lieutenant. He was assistant instructor in tactics at West Point from September to November, 1841, and Adjutant to October, 1845; he was promoted to a First Lieutenancy in October, 1842; Aid-de-camp to General Wool from October, 1845, to May, 1847, and took an active part in the war with Mexico. He received the honorary rank of Brevet Captain for gallant conduct in the battle of Buena Vista, February 23, 1847; promoted to post of Assistant Adjutant-General, with rank of Captain, in May, 1847, and relinquished rank in line in February, 1851; Assistant Adjutant-General, with the rank of Major, March 31, 1856; Brevet Brigadier-General, May, 1861. He commanded the United States troops on the recent advance to Bull Run, and though unfortunate in that affair is not blamed by anyone for his management of the attack.