If any of you will locate the McDowell papers for me, I promise to write a fair-minded, informative, very useful biography -- the first ever -- of this major Civil War figure.
On the other hand, if I have to find these papers myself, I will write a cranky, opinionated, unreadable biography out of an abundance of irritation. You know I am capable of that, so spare yourselves by putting in a little research and elbow grease now to avoid crushing disappointment later.
You know how to reach me or you know someone else who knows how. Find the papers, belay your excuses and get to it. Claim your free prize!
Here are two clues to help you find the McDowell papers.
Clue no. 1 Harry Smeltzer pointed me to this remark:
I was long in hopes of getting access to some papers left by General McDowell which are said to contain information of importance as to his relations with the authorities at Washington; unfortunately, I was unable to persuade those who have charge of them to let me see them.That is from Robert Matteson Johnston in his 1913, Bull Run; Its Strategy and Tactics, a damn good read, btw. What is Johnston referring to?
Clue no. 2 This is a nugget from my failing memory. Tom Rowland once told me (IIRC!) that his own McDowell bio was stymied because the McDowell daughters had burned their father's papers. Believable, yes. But true?
Claim the prize!
This is a limited time offer and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If I had graduate student assistants, you, the general public, would never even have a chance at reaping these generous rewards. Act now and I will throw in, absolutely free, some meager scraps of my own research.
What are you waiting for?