First Bull Run Daniel Tyler's Scathing Criticism of Irvin McDowell

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Henry Hunt

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Daniel Tyler's Scathing Criticism of Irvin McDowell

220px-General_Daniel_Tyler_USA.jpg

(Wikipedia)

Reading Daniel Tyler's memoirs and this passage struck me:

"The first campaign of the war of the Rebellion was gotten up by General McDowell and his friends and was intended to make him a hero of a short war and of a campaign begun and ended in the first battle of Bull Run. All accounts of the battle thus far intended for history- I refer to Nicolay's and Prince de Joinville's- were either written or inspired by McDowell and his friends- intending, so far as possible, to shield his military reputation from the condemnation it so richly deserves. General McDowell has been an expensive ornament to the military service; and his courtier like services in the salon have immeasurably exceeded his military service in the field."[1]

Pretty scathing depiction by Tyler here. I don't know enough to fully judge McDowell myself. Most of what I've read has been generally sympathetic that he had a good plan for the campaign but army his was inexperienced and lacking in everything. Though Tyler as his second in command may have better insight. I'm really curious about these "friends" of McDowell, any guesses?

[1] Daniel Tyler, A Memorial Volume Containing his Autobiography and War Record (New Haven, 1883), 49-50.
https://archive.org/details/danieltylermemor00mitc/page/48
 

Andy Cardinal

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There are two influential McDowell supporters that I know of. One was Salmon Chase, who was an early supporter of McDowell's. Another was one of Chase's proteges, James A. Garfield, who expressed admiration and support for McDowell during and after his court of inquiry. He described McDowell as "frank, open, manly, severe and sincere. He is truly patriotic, but is not a politician…That he is a true brave man I have no doubt. I like General Irvin McDowell.” One of Garfield's sons was named Irvin McDowell Garfield.

McDowell was ultimately relieved after 2nd Bull Run, but he remained in the army -- just like Pope. Both had powerful friends within the Republican party.
 
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Andy Cardinal

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The other thing to keep in mind is that McDowell blamed Tyler for the debacle at Blackburn's Ford on July 18.
 
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