J. Franklin Jameson, “McDowell, Irvin,” Dictionary of United States History, 1492-1895 (Boston: Puritan Publishing Co., 1894), 388.
McDowell, Irvin (1818-1885), graduated at West Point in 1838 and served, like so many other West-Pointers, in the Mexican War. In 1861 he was appointed brigadier-general, and placed in charge of the Army of the Potomac. His plans for the first battle of Bull Run were admittedly excellent, but nothing could check the demoralization of the green troops. His reputation as a general was unjustly involved in the collapse of the army, and he was never again intrusted with high command. He was a corps commander in Virginia in 1862, fought at the battles of Cedar Mountain and second Bull Run; after the war he was a commander of various military departments, was promoted major-general in 1872, and retired in 1882.