Tidball remembers McDowell

August marked the third anniversary of this blog; it was some time into the second year that Blogger's built-in search feature for this site began breaking down due to the volume of posting. The workaround that held up for the following year was to enter a search string plus cwbn.blogspot.com into the Google search engine home page, and now even that is failing.

I say this not in pride but in frustration in not being able to find material I have posted. For instance I cannot believe that I have not written more about artilleryman John C. Tidball's biography than just this ... a complaint from 2004 that Tidball's bio should be published before McDowell's.

And yet, it's a good biography; I love his stories about General Tim Sherman (but will save them for a future Tim Sherman extravaganza).

Reader Bill Bergen today reminded me of a McDowell pre-war anecdote that Tidball relates. McDowell was fascinated by a mechanical doll he bought for his daughter. Somehow, Tidball and McDowell got onto this topic during an inspection and McDowell became so engrossed in the subject that he forgot his main purpose.

Lost in the woods of his mind.

Tidball was arch enough to share this experience with his peers, who then ensnared McDowell repeatedly into re-enacting the same little lecture with the same results - escape from inspection.

Tidball: "Great minds are often prone to run to bigness in small things, and McDowell was no exception to the rule." His verdict on McDowell: "McDowell - poor man, will come out all right from the absurd accusations of disloyalty, drinking, etc., but nothing will ever make a general of him..."