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Irvin McDowell was a Union general during the American Civil War. He was born in 1818 in Ohio. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1838. He fought in the Mexican-American War. At the start of the Civil War, he became a brigadier general and commanded the Union army in the First Battle of Bull Run. He was blamed for the Union defeat in the battle. He then commanded a corps in the Second Battle of Bull Run. After that battle, he was sent to command the U.S. soldiers in California. He retired from the army in 1882. He helped build parks in San Francisco, California until he died in 1885.