Irvin McDowell was a Unionduring the (1861–1865). He commanded the army that was defeated at the on July 21, 1861, the first large land battle of the conflict. Born in Columbus, Ohio, McDowell attended West Point and earned a brevet rank for gallantry at the Battle of Buena Vista (1847) during the Mexican War (1846–1848). Considered to be a competent soldier, McDowell served on the staff of U.S. Army general-in-chief and at the beginning of the Civil War organized Union troops in Washington, D.C. Pressured by the public and politicians to attack the Confederate capital at , McDowell led his green troops into disaster at Manassas, which made him the target of criticism and controversy. Repeatedly victimized by poor tactical judgment as well as by events beyond his control, he fought and was again involved in a defeat at the in August 1862. By the autumn of that year his active-duty career was effectively over and he had begun to fade into obscurity. McDowell remained in the Regular Army until his retirement in 1882 as commander of the Pacific Division. He died in San Francisco, California, in 1885.