Arlington House, Virginia, 1861
(1818-1885) Graduated in the West Point class of 1838. From 1841 to 1845 he taught tactics at the U.S. Military Academy and many of the students he taught went on to become Confederate generals who haunted him on the battlefields of the Civil War. He was awarded the rank of brevet captain for gallantry at the battle of Buena Vista during the Mexican War. He was appointed brigadier general May 14, 1861. By July, political pressure demanded an advance by his half trained army on the Rebels under the command of General P.G.T. Beauregard at Manassas Junction, where the railroad from Richmond to Alexandria met the line from the Shenandoah Valley. The resulting Union disaster at the 1st battle of Bull Run stemmed as much from misfortune as ineptitude although on paper McDowell had a good plan, but wasn't able to inspire his officers or troops. He later commanded a corps of the Army of the Potomac which was detached to protect Washington, and in the 2nd battle of Bull Run he commanded the 3rd Corps. On July 1, 1864, he was assigned to command the Department of the Pacific.
Wet plate, albumen carte de visite photograph, mounted to 2 1/2 x 3 7/8 card. Excellent view of General Irvin McDowell (6th from the left) standing on the front steps of Arlington House, the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, just prior to the first battle of Bull Run. McDowell is wearing bummer's kepi and holding his sword. He is surrounded by eight members of his staff, all but one with sword visible. His orderly is holding a white horse at left of the view. No backmark, but this is a Mathew Brady view. Mount is slightly trimmed. Very fine. Desirable early Civil War image. Rare.