McDowell Descendant

11 02 2010

Last night I received an email from a great-great-granddaughter of Irvin McDowell, Cynthia Payson Hartdegen:


My sister sent me your blog about my great-great-grandfather, Irvin.  Family lore has it that he tried to dissuade Lincoln from fighting at Bull Run, believing it unwinnable.  Lincoln allegedly believed that the soldiers needed a battle and offered to take responsibility for the likely loss.  “Caesar can do no wrong” McDowell said (according to my grandmother, Madeleine McDowell Greene), and owned responsibility for the rout. 

I was interested in your report of his Grandfather – was that Samuel?  His portrait hangs in my library.

Thank you for your research, and comments.


Cynthia was referring to this article in which I commented on Michael Hardy’s recent biographical article on McDowell.  I replied to Cynthia’s email, and received a response in which she detailed her relationship to McDowell.  While she’s not aware of the existence of any of his papers at this point, hopefully we can flesh-out the General a bit in the future.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine



4 responses

12 02 2010
Jim Miller

Harry, to add a bit more information to the McDowell family tree, Irvin McDowell’s younger brother, John Adair McDowell, was the 1st Colonel of the 6th Iowa Infantry. A biographical sketch of him can befound in Addison A. Stuart’s “Iowa Colonels and Regiments,” p. 147-52 which I have posted at Civil War Notebook:


12 02 2010
Harry Smeltzer

Thanks for commenting, Jim. I wrote about John McDowell here a while back. A murky character.


16 10 2012
John Roe

My name is John Roe, I’m distant to the Mc Dowell family, in that my Mother Lauara M. Mcdowell, was of 14 Childern, of William McDowell. They lived in a small town of Selam, California.


16 10 2012
Harry Smeltzer

Thanks for stopping by, John. Feel free to share anything or ask any questions you may have.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: