Orders From General Winfield Scott Signed By McDowell With Rank
General McDowell commanded the Union army at the 1st battle of Bull Run, Virginia in July 1861
(1818-1885) He was born in Columbus, Ohio, and graduated in the West Point class of 1838 where one of his classmates was future Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard, his future adversary at the Battle of First Bull Run, Va. After graduation he was commissioned a second lieutenant, and assigned to the 1st U.S. Artillery. From 1841 to 1845 he taught tactics at the United States 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. Between 1848 and 1861, McDowell served as a staff officer to high ranking military leaders, and developed experience in logistics and supply. He developed a close friendship with General Winfield Scott, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army, while serving on his staff. He also served under future Confederate general Joseph E. Johnston. He was promoted to brigadier general in the Regular Army on May 14, 1861, and was given command of the Army of Northeastern Virginia. By July, political pressure demanded an advance by his half trained mainly volunteer army on the Rebels under the command of General P.G.T. Beauregard, at Manassas Junction, Va., where the railroad from Richmond to Alexandria, Va., 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 General McDowell had a good and ambitious 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, and in 1865 he was appointed commander of the Department of California. He then was appointed to be the commander of the Department of the East, from 1868-72, and he was promoted to major general, U.S. Army, on November 25, 1872. McDowell succeeded General George G. Meade as commander of the Military Division of the South, on December 16, 1872, and remained in command until June 30, 1876. On July 1, 1876, he served as commander of the Division of the Pacific, and in 1882, Congress imposed a mandatory retirement age of 64 for military officers, and McDowell retired on October 14th of that year. After his retirement from the army, General McDowell exercised his fondness for landscape gardening, serving as Park Commissioner of San Francisco, California, until his death from a heart attack, on May 4, 1885. In this capacity he constructed a park in the neglected reservation of the Presidio, laying out drives that commanded views of the Golden Gate. He is buried in San Francisco National Cemetery in the Presidio of San Francisco, Ca.
Document Signed With Rank: 5 x 7 1/4, manuscript orders, very neatly written, signed boldly by McDowell in ink, with rank.
Head Quarters of the Army
New York, April 26, 1856
General Order No. 21, dated Head Quarters of the Army, Adjutant General's Office, April 3, 1851, is hereby rescinded.
By Command of Bvt. Lieut. Genl. Scott
Asst. Adjt. Genl.
There are 2 tiny punch holes at the left edge from when this order was filed in a General Orders book. They do not affect the content in any way. Light age toning and edge wear. Very bold autograph of Irvin McDowell as Assistant Adjutant General of the United States Army. This order was issued by Lieutenant General Winfield Scott, future commander-in-chief of all United States Armies at the outbreak of the Civil War, and hero of the War of 1812, and the Mexican War. McDowell of course would soon become a prominent Union major general during the Civil War leading the Union army at the 1st Battle of Bull Run, Virginia in 1861. There is a small imprinted descriptive text affixed to the very top edge of the document which is well away from any of the content. Very fine, and desirable Union autograph. Uncommon in manuscript format.