History is unkind to defeated generals. All most of us recall about Irvin McDowell is that he commanded the Union army at First Bull Run, First Manassas south of the Mason-Dixon line, and was beaten by the Confederates. He had a long and illustrious career in the Army both before and after Bull Run, but none of that matters. He is the defeated general at Bull Run, and after History places that stamp on him, nothing else really matters. In John Brown’s Body, his epic poem on the Civil War, Stephen Vincent Benet has a few words on McDowell that I believe should be remembered.