Professor Thaddeus Lowe's Official Report Part II

O.R.--SERIES III--VOLUME III [S# 124]
CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, REPORTS, AND RETURNS OF THE UNION AUTHORITIES FROM JANUARY 1 TO DECEMBER 31, 1863.--# 12

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
March 23, 1862.

Prof. T. S. C. LOWE,
Chief Aeronaut, National Hotel:

        The commanding general directs that on arriving at Fort Monroe you land all your balloons save one, which you will keep on board subject to his future directions.

S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

        On the 3d of April I received an order from General McClellan to accompany General Porter in His advance to Yorktown. On the following morning at 5 o'clock the division left Hampton and advanced as far as Cockletown, and on the 5th arrived in front of Yorktown. The aeronautic train, consisting of four army wagons and two gas generators, having to move in the rear, arrived a little after noon and were put in position for inflating the balloon. Our operations were impeded for an hour or more by our position being shelled by the enemy, but notwithstanding this the balloon was ready at 5.30 o'clock, and an observation was taken by an officer of the general's staff. At 3 o'clock the next morning I ascended and remained up until after daylight, observing the camp-fires and noting the movements of the enemy. On descending a messenger handed me the following order:

APRIL 6, 1862.

Professor LOWE:

        The commanding general desires you to make an ascension as soon as you can. Look for the movement of wagons and teams; also where the largest number of men are.
        Send word what is passing as soon as you can.

Very respectfully,
FRED. T. LOCKE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

        These observations being of great importance, I went to General Porter's tent and made my report, and requested that he should ascend that he might judge for himself of the number of the enemy and strength of their works. This he did, and remained up one hour and forty-five minutes at an elevation of 1,000 feet, and within a mile of the enemy's works. On descending, all the generals were called together and a council held. During the day several draughtsmen were sent up who sketched maps of the positions of the enemy, &c. In the afternoon the Count de Paris ascended with General Porter, and near sundown General Butterfield ascended to a height of 1,000 feet.
        The observations and maps thus made were of the greatest importance, and readily enabled the commanding officer to decide what course he would pursue.
        In the evening of the same day I received the following order from General McClellan:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 6, 1862.

Professor LOWE:

        General McClellan directs that you send a balloon to General Keyes' headquarters at Warwick Court-House as soon as possible.

By command of Major-General McClellan:
A. V. COLBURN,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

        In compliance with this order I proceeded to Fortress Monroe to move another balloon to General Keyes' command, and left the one then inflated and in use before Yorktown in charge of the only assistant aeronaut I was then allowed, excepting one in charge of the balloon-boat at Fortress Monroe.
        After stationing the balloon at Warwick Court-House (the train having to move over the worst roads I ever saw) I started on the night of the 10th for Yorktown. Our lines having been changed during my absence, I found myself, about 9 o'clock p.m., within the enemy's lines. I was not sensible of the danger I was in until I heard signals given by a low whistle, which I at once knew to be those of the rebels, and accordingly cautiously retraced my steps and spent the night at the camp of one of our advanced regiments. The next morning at daybreak I took the road to Yorktown, and at 6.30 I was surprised by the descent of a balloon very near me. On reaching the spot I found it to be the one I had left in charge of my assistant at Yorktown, and General Fitz John Porter the occupant. The gas had entirely escaped when the balloon reached the earth, from the fact that the general in his eagerness to come to the ground (on finding that the rope by which the balloon was let up had parted) had opened the valve until all the gas had escaped, and as the balloon was constantly falling the silk was kept extended, and presented so large a surface to the atmosphere that it served the purpose of a parachute, and consequently the descent was not rapid enough to be dangerous.
        I would here remark that a balloon suddenly relieved of its gas will always form a half sphere, provided it has a sufficient distance to fall in to condense a column of air under it. A thousand feet would, I presume, be sufficiently high to effect this and to make the descent in safety.
        On inquiring into the cause of the accident I found that Mr. Allen, the assistant in charge of the balloon, had used but one rope, as had been his idea of topical ascents, instead of three and sometimes four, as I always did, and that rope had been partially injured by acid which had accidentally got on it.
        I found it difficult for a time to restore confidence among the officers as to the safety of this means of observation on account of this accident, but the explanations and the personal ascensions I made gradually secured a return of their favor, and on the 13th of April I received the following communication:

APRIL 13, 1862.

        PROFESSOR: General Barnard is General McClellan's chief engineer, and is located in his camp. General McClellan is very anxious for him to have an ascension early in the morning, and General B. will be prepared to accompany your messenger, whom I beg of you to direct to wait to take General Barnard to the location of the balloon. I would ascend myself did not General B. wish and General McClellan wish him to go. General McClellan's camp is along the telegraph wire. Send the messenger to me if you do not know. I beg of you to give him a good and safe ascension.

Yours, truly,
F. J. PORTER.

        P. S.--Send one of our men to rouse General B. at daylight, and wait to take him to your balloon. I think the best place is down the hollow where you were camped.

        On the following morning I called in person on General Barnard at daybreak and accompanied him to the balloon, when he ascended to an elevation of 1,000 feet and remained two hours. After breakfast he made two more ascents at different points, and expressed himself highly gratified with the information thus gained. From this time until the evacuation of Yorktown the balloons were kept in constant use, and reports were made by myself and many officers who ascended daily.
        I regret that I have not more copies of reports, but as I had my camp at headquarters I usually made my reports verbally, assisted in my explanations by references to maps. Almost daily whenever the balloon ascended the enemy opened upon it with their heavy siege guns or rifled field pieces, until it had attained an altitude to be out of reach, and repeated this fire when the balloon descended, until it was concealed by the woods.

PORTER'S HEADQUARTERS,
April 29, 1862.

Captain MCKEEVER:

        Please say to Professor Lowe, or his assistant, I would like to make an ascension as soon as the weather will permit, if they will notify me.

F. J. PORTER,
Brigadier-General.

 

CAMP WINFIELD SCOTT,
Near Yorktown, Va., April 29, 1862.

Brig. Gen. S. VAN VLIET,
Chief Quartermaster, Army of the Potomac:

        GENERAL: The commanding general directs that you cause to be issued to Professor Lowe, chief of balloon department of this army, such means of transportation and quartermaster's supplies as may be necessary to enable him to perform the duties with which he is charged.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

        On the 3d of May I made a reconnaissance near Warwick Court-House and again before sundown before Yorktown, General McClellan and staff being on the spot; General Porter and myself ascended. No sooner had the balloon risen above the tops of the trees than the enemy opened all of their batteries commanding it, and the whole atmosphere was literally filled with bursting shell and shot, one, passing through the cordage that connects the car with the balloon, struck near to the place where General McClellan stood. Another 64-pounder struck between two soldiers lying in a tent, but without injury. Fearing that by keeping the balloon up the enemy's shots would do injury to the troops that were thickly camped there, General Porter ordered the balloon down. While making preparations to ascend again I received the following order:

YORKTOWN, May 3, 1862.

Professor LOWE:

        The general says the balloon must not ascend from the place it now is any more.

G. MONTEITH.

 

        At about midnight, however, I was aroused by Captain Moses, of General Heintzelman's staff, who informed me that the general was apprehensive that the enemy were evacuating, from the fact of the constant cannonading, and that a heavy fire was also raging in Yorktown. I immediately ascended and saw that the fire was confined to one building or vessel near the wharf, and therefore I did not consider it a sufficient indication that they were evacuating, for if destruction of property was intended, they would burn their barracks, tents, wharves, store-houses, &c. I therefore considered the fire to be accidental.
        I did not sleep any more, however, that night, and got the balloon ready for another ascension, which I made before daylight; but, as formerly, at this time in the morning I could see no camp-fires. As soon as it became a little lighter I discovered that the enemy had gone. This I immediately communicated to General Heintzelman, who on learning it ascended with me, satisfied himself of the fact, and reported it by telegraph to General McClellan, sending the message down from the balloon without descending. We then remained up and saw our troops advance toward the empty works, throwing out their skirmishers, and feeling their way as if expecting to meet an enemy. Of course we had no means of communicating to let our advance guard know where the enemy were, which we could see, as their rear guard was not more than one mile from Yorktown.
        From the above facts it is fair to presume that the first reliable information given of the evacuation of Yorktown was that transmitted from the balloon to General McClellan by General Heintzelman and myself. Further proof of this, if necessary, will be found in General Heintzelman's report of the battle of Williamsburg, which I regret I have not at hand to quote from.
        I would also refer to the pamphlet written by Prince de Joinville, where in speaking of the evacuation of Yorktown and in other places he alludes to the ascensions of the balloon as an everyday occurrence in the Army of the Potomac for reconnaissances, and of their being frequently fired at by the enemy.
        At about 7 o'clock the balloon was taken into Yorktown and observations made of the river for thirty miles. From the reports made that a number of vessels were in sight, our gun-boats were enabled to capture some and cause the destruction of many more.
        To show how suddenly the enemy withdrew from Yorktown, I insert the following report to General Keyes, made verbally at the time and subsequently in writing:

ROPER'S MEETING-HOUSE, May 11, 1862.

Brig. Gen. E. D. KEYES,
Commanding Fourth Corps, Army of the Potomac:

        GENERAL: In accordance with your request that I should give you a statement of the results of my observations from the balloon stationed at General Smith's division, near Warwick Court-House, on Saturday, May 3, I give the following: I ascended at noon, and remained at an elevation of nearly a thousand feet for one hour. Could see the rebel line of works and camps from York to James Rivers. At a point which I took to be Lee's Mill there seemed to be a large camp and earth-works as well as many others to the right and left. In several places there seemed to be gangs of men apparently throwing up earth-works. In addition to their barracks, many tents were visible, and, in fact, signs of evacuation were not visible. I reported the result of my observation to General McClellan on the same evening, and also to you at Brigadier-General Smith's headquarters at about 4 p.m. the 3d instant. On the following morning I ascended at a point near Yorktown and discovered that the enemy had left, and at 6 o'clock a portion of them were visible about two miles from Yorktown on the road to Williamsburg.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut.

        It was known by all who had an opportunity of knowing that the enemy continued their works and kept up appearances until the night of the evacuation, and even kept their batteries firing until after midnight. Their barracks and tents, many of them new, were all left standing. Medical stores and ammunition (some destroyed and thrown into the river) were left, which it would seem would not have been the case if the evacuation had been long premeditated.
        It is true army wagons were daily seen plying between Yorktown and Williamsburg, and so reported, but it was impossible to say which way they were loaded.
        On the afternoon of the 4th I received orders to move everything pertaining to my department by water, with General Franklin's command. Judging from my orders, it would seem that the battle of Williamsburg was not expected.
        The balloons were accordingly taken to West Point, and one was inflated on the balloon boat and used by General Franklin during his stay at that place, where reports were made to him of the position and movements of the enemy. After this we moved by water to White House Landing, the balloon boat being the first to land, and was even some distance ahead of the gun-boats, while the first night the balloon guard was the advance picket on the river bottom.
        On the 18th of May I received orders to accompany General Stone-man, who was then some distance in the advance. We arrived near the Chickahominy on the morning of the 20th, and on the following morning, accompanied by General Stoneman, I ascended, and there had a distant view of Richmond, the general being the first to point out the city as we were rising. After ascertaining the location of the enemy, General Stoneman advanced his forces to Gaines' Hill, and there rested until the main portion of the enemy, which was still some distance in the rear, came up, while in the meantime the balloon was kept in constant use, and all the movements of the enemy were reported.
        On the 25th of May the balloon proved of great advantage, and I copy the following memorandum from my notebook respecting the observations made:

GAINES' HILL, May 25, 1862.

        This has been a fine and important day. General Stoneman ascended with me to an elevation of a thousand feet; had a splendid view of the enemy's country; discovered a force of the enemy near New Bridge, concealed to watch our movements. The general then took two batteries and placed them to the right and left of Doctor Gaines' house, and caused the enemy to retreat for at least a mile and a half, while he remained in the balloon with me, directing the commanders of the batteries where to fire, as they could not see the objects fired at. The general then went to Mechanicsville and drove the enemy from that position, while I remained up in the balloon to keep up appearances and to see if a larger force opposed him.
        After descending, General Stoneman was heard to say, in the presence of several gentlemen, that he had seen enough to be worth millions of dollars to the Government.
        It is certain that he is too keen an observer and too able an officer to be insensible of the advantages of so superior and accurate means of observation as that afforded by the balloon.
        One of the principal objects of General Stoneman in driving the rebels from the banks of the Chickahominy was to enable him to move to Mechanicsville unnoticed, whereby he might surprise the enemy at that point, which he effectually accomplished by the aid of the balloon. He often availed himself of it by ascending personally, instead of trusting to some inferior officer who had no interest or reputation at stake. I had always noticed, moreover, that the general invariably pitched his tent where he could see the enemy himself.
        On the occasion above alluded to the enemy were so concealed behind woods and hills that it was impossible to ascertain their positions in any other way than by ascending to a great elevation, and the artillery might have been fired a whole day without doing any injury, unless the proper range had been obtained.

        A Richmond paper of May 26 contained the following item:

        The enemy are fast making their appearance on the banks of the Chickahominy. Yesterday they had a balloon in the air the whole day, it being witnessed by many of our citizens from the streets and house tops. They evidently discovered something of importance to them, for at about 4 p.m. a brisk cannonading was heard at Mechanicsville and the Yankees now occupy that place.

        On several other occasions the Richmond papers correctly described the various ornaments painted on the balloons, as seen with telescopes from the city.
        On the 26th and 27th I received the following orders:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
INSPECTOR-GENERAL'S DEPARTMENT,
May 26, 1862.

Professor LOWE:

        SIR: I am instructed by Brigadier-General Marcy, chief of staff, to direct you to move your balloon, &c., with as little delay as possible, to Brigadier-General Stoneman's headquarters, at Mechanicsville.
        You are directed after each ascent to make a written report to the headquarters of the result of your observations.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. B. SACKET,

Inspector-General, U.S. Army.

 

HDQRS. TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
May 26, 1862.

Prof. T. S. C. LOWE,
Chief Aeronaut, Army of the Potomac:

        SIR: The balloon department has been placed under my direction by Special Orders, No. 157, May 25. Understanding that there are several balloons in your charge, you will immediately establish them in the following positions, viz, near Mechanicsville, General Stoneman commanding; near the Seven Pines, on the road from Bottom's Bridge to Richmond, about six miles from the bridge, General Keyes commanding, and in the vicinity of New Bridge, near the general headquarters.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Brig. Gen. and Chief Topographical Engineers.

 

HDQRS. TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
May 27, 1862.

Prof. T. S. C. LOWE,
Chief Aeronaut, Army of the Potomac:

        DEAR SIR: The general commanding desires-first, that balloon ascensions be made as frequently as is practicable at each balloon station and that full reports of one results of the observations be transmitted at once to these headquarters; second, that no persons be permitted to ascend in the balloon with the exception of the general in command at the position which the balloon occupies, and those authorized by him; third, that newspaper correspondents and reporters be in no case permitted to ascend.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Brig. Gen., Chief of Topographical Engineers, Army of the Potomac.

        It will be seen from the following dispatches that the enemy improved every opportunity to fire at the balloon. On this occasion I ascended to a high altitude, and before I descended I had the balloon moved considerably to one side, so that the subsequent firing was out of range, and thus, by changing my location, prevented the enemy from having a good mark to fire at.

MAY 27, 1862.

Gen. A. A. HUMPHREYS:

        Ascended at 4.45 p.m. one mile from Mechanicsville and, I should judge, four miles from Richmond, in an air line. At 5 o'clock three batteries opened upon me, firing many shots, some falling short and some passing beyond the balloon and one over it, while it was at an elevation of 300 to 400 feet. A battle is going on about four miles distant; heavy cannonading and musketry. I will go up again and report.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

MAY 27, 1862.

Brigadier-General HUMPHREYS,
Chief of Topographical Engineers:

        GENERAL: I made my second ascent at 5.30 p.m., and remained up until 6.45 p.m. Richmond and vicinity are much more distinct from this point, and I was able to discover with ease the exact position of the enemy. The heaviest camps seem to be near the banks this side of James River and a little to the left of Richmond. The next heaviest are to the right of Richmond on the road from Mechanicsville. There are also several smaller on the first heights opposite Mechanicsville, and several batteries stationed there, some of which I saw put in position while in the balloon, besides those that fired at me.
        The heights opposite New Bridge for two miles each way seem to be entirely unoccupied, except by the enemy's pickets.
        No earth-works of any description are visible, although the country is tolerably clear from woods on the Mechanicsville road, and if there are earth-works on this side they are very near the city and behind the last line of woods.
        In the northwest from where the balloon is, and about ten miles distant, there was heavy smoke.
        To the north, near the Pamunkey River, was the heavy cannonading and musketry, but the distance and heavy woods prevented me from seeing the detail movements. The enemy in and around Richmond are apparently very strong in numbers.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut.

 

BALLOON CAMP,
Near Mechanicsville, May 29, 1862--9.30 a.m.

Brig. Gen. A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Chief of Topographical Engineers, Army of the Potomac:

        GENERAL: I ascended at 7.30 o'clock this a.m., near New Bridge; could discover no change in the position of the enemy in that vicinity. I then came to this point to get another view, which I have just obtained, and find the enemy quite opposite Mechanicsville.
        A battery consisting of several guns is in position near the road on the opposite heights. There are troops lying in the shade of the woods along the whole line from below New Bridge to some distance above this point, the greatest number, however, opposite this point.
        I have now on hand material sufficient to keep the two balloons in operation for about one week only.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut, Army of the Potomac.

        From 11 o'clock until dark on the 29th of May the enemy commenced to concentrate their forces in front of Fair Oaks, moving on roads entirely out of sight of our pickets, and concealing themselves as much as possible in and behind woods, where none of their movements could be seen, except from the balloon. The following is one of my reports on that day:

BALLOON CAMP,
Near New Bridge, May 29, 1862.

Brig. Gen. A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Chief of Topographical Engineers:

        GENERAL: My last ascent was made at sundown, which discloses the fact that the enemy have this afternoon established another camp in front of this point in the edge of the woods to the left of the New Bridge road and on a line with the permanent camp about one mile and a half to two miles from the opposite heights. They seem to be strengthening on our left, opposite this place.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE.

        P. S.--My last dispatch dated 1.30 o'clock ought to have been 3. My watch had stopped.

LOWE.

        On that night or the following morning General McClellan ordered the reserves to be moved up to support General Heintzelman in case of an attack, which took place just as this was accomplished. Had not our forces been concentrated it is very evident that our left, or that portion of our army beyond the Chickahominy, would have been driven back, and in consequence the whole army routed.
        I think that I have reason to presume that the cause of this favorable movement of our troops was mainly due to my report that the enemy were moving down and strengthening in front of Fair Oaks.
        On the 31st of May, at noon, I ascended at Mechanicsville, and discovered bodies of the enemy and trains of wagons moving from Richmond toward Fair Oaks. I remained in the air watching their movements until nearly 2 o'clock, when I saw the enemy form in line of battle, and cannonading immediately commenced. Not having any telegraphic communication here, I dispatched one of my assistants with a verbal message, and, to make the matter doubly sure, I sent the following written dispatch after reaching Doctor Gaines' house forty-five minutes later, and still another at 4.30 p.m.:

DOCTOR GAINES' HOUSE, May 31, 1862.

General MCCLELLAN:

        I descended at 2 o'clock from near Mechanicsville. The position of the engagement is about four or five miles from New Bridge in a southerly direction. Could see troops moving toward the firing from our left of Richmond, and a long wagon train also moving in that direction.
        The enemy on our right seem to remain quiet. Quite a large reserve are in the edge of the woods about one mile and a half from the heights on the road from New Bridge. I will ascend from this point as soon as the wind lulls.

Your very obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE.

 

MAY 31, 1862--4.30 p.m.

Brigadier-General MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        There are large bodies of troops in the open field beyond the opposite heights on the New Bridge road. White-covered wagons are rapidly moving toward the point of the engagement with artillery in the advance. The firing on our left has ceased.

T. S. C. LOWE,
Chief Aeronaut.

        On receipt of the above information General McClellan sent express orders to General Sumner to have the bridge across the Chickahominy completed as soon as possible, and to cross with his corps at the earliest possible moment and support General Heintzelman. This was accomplished just in time, for it is asserted upon good authority that if General Sumner had been one or two hours later the day would have been lost.
        Is it not probable, to say the least, that my reports from the balloons caused the completion of this bridge two hours sooner than it would otherwise have been done? In reference to this point I would refer to the Prince de Joinville's narrative of the Peninsular Campaign, where in speaking of the battle of Fair Oaks he says that "there was some doubt whether the enemy were making a real attack, or whether it was merely a feint; but this doubt was soon removed by reports from the aeronauts, who could see heavy columns of the enemy moving in that direction."
       
On the following morning I ascended at 4 a.m., but owing to fog I was unable to see anything until after 6 o'clock, and at 7 o'clock I sent the following dispatch by telegraph from the balloon.
        Many dispatches were sent in this way, copies of which were not preserved:

NEAR DOCTOR GAINES' HOUSE,
June 1, 1862--7 a.m.

Brigadier-General HUMPHREYS, or
General MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        I have just obtained a splendid observation from the balloon. I find the enemy in large force on the New Bridge road, about three miles this side of Richmond. In fact, all of the roads that are visible are filled with infantry and cavalry moving toward Fair Oaks Station. There is also a large force opposite here, and in the same position that they were yesterday, but not in motion. I can see smoke in the woods where the firing ceased last night. I hear no firing at the present. In the immediate vicinity of the heights opposite here there are nothing but pickets visible.

T. S. C. LOWE,
Chief Aeronaut.

        I am satisfied from what I heard on the previous evening that an attack by the enemy on the next morning was not expected. The above dispatch, therefore, giving timely notice that the enemy did really intend making a more severe attack than even that of the previous day, must certainly have been of the greatest importance, and gave our forces an opportunity of preparing for a vigorous defense.
        I would here remark that of all the battles I have witnessed, that of Fair Oaks was the most closely contested and most severe, and the victory, in my opinion, was due to the valor and skill of General Heintzelman, who nobly sustained himself against great odds in favor of the enemy.
        To the following reports I would call especial attention, as they speak for themselves.
        The following order from General Humphreys was received one hour after my first report:

JUNE 1, 1862--6.45 a.m.

Professor LOWE:

        Have you been able to ascend this morning? Your balloon should be in connection by telegraph, and messages should be sent constantly--at least every fifteen minutes. The balloon must be up all day. The balloon at Mechanicsville should likewise be sent up at once, and remain up all day.
        Same reports must be made from it as from the balloon at Doctor Gaines'.

A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Brigadier-General.

 

BALLOON CAMP,
Doctor Gaines' House, June 1, 1862.

Brigadier-General HUMPHREYS, or
General MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        The reserve of the enemy are considerably strengthened on the New Bridge road, and troops are still moving that way from Richmond; they do not seem to be gathering in any great numbers on the immediate heights along the Chickahominy. Our supports, with army wagons, are in a southeast direction from here, advancing, and about three miles from the fire of yesterday. Musketry is in constant operation in the same direction as yesterday. The banks of the Chickahominy are overflowed as far as can be seen.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut.

 

BALLOON CAMP,
Near Doctor Gaines' House, June 1, 1862--11 a.m.

Brigadier-General HUMPHREYS, or
General R. B. MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        My ascent and observations just completed show the firing of the enemy to be in the same position. The road in the rear of the firing is filled with wagons and troops. About two miles still farther to the rear of Fair Oaks Station, and on the Williamsburg stage road, Charles City road, and Central road, are also large bodies of troops; in fact, I am astonished at their numbers compared with ours, although they are more concentrated than we are. Their whole force seem to be paying attention to their right. A regiment has just marched to the front, where we are preparing a crossing. Their large barracks to the left of Richmond is entirely free from smoke, and, in fact, the whole city and surroundings are nearly free from smoke, which enables me to see with distinctness the enemy's earth-works. Quite a large body of troops are on the other side of the river, about two miles from here, to our left.
        The weather is now calm, and an excellent opportunity is offered for an engineer officer to accompany me.
        The balloon at Mechanicsville is constantly up.

Your very obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE.
 

JUNE 1, 1862.

Professor LOWE:

        Direct your attention to a force said to be approaching toward our left, apparently to attack the working parties at the bridge below New Bridge. It is said a gun is planted to strike the bridge. Send me intelligence by bearer and at once communicate to me or General ----- , when present, what is passing.

J. H. MARTINDALE,
Brigadier-General, in Charge of Porter's Division.

 

JUNE 1, 1862--12.15 p.m.

General MARTINDALE:

        About one hour ago a full regiment moved up into the woods toward where our left crossing is being made. I have seen no artillery moved up, nor can I see any from here. I think, however, there is artillery in the woods.

Very respectfully,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut.

 

HEADQUARTERS OF GENERAL MCCLELLAN,
June 1, 1862.

Professor LOWE:

        The enemy has been repulsed wherever he attacked. Watch the motions of the enemy and his wagons and see where goes the force before Mechanicsville.

R. B. MARCY.

 

Professor LOWE:

        Can you see General Sumner's corps near the line of railroad about four miles from the Chickahominy? Was the train of our wagons you saw going toward Richmond or toward James River? Can you see the gun-boats on James River? Which direction does the smoke run?

R. B. MARCY,
Chief of Staff.

 

JUNE 1, 1862.

        At 11 o'clock could see what I understood was General Sumner's corps near the line of railroad, but not more than two miles from the Chickahominy. The wagons I saw were moving toward James River. They had not reached the road to Richmond.
        I cannot see the gun-boats, but can see heavy smoke arising from the valley at two points, and hear heavy reports from cannon. The enemy's reserves seem to be stationed at present in all the roads.

T. S. C. LOWE,
Chief Aeronaut.

        The following were answers to questions asked by General Porter:

JUNE 1, 1862--3 p.m.

Brig. Gen. F. J. PORTER:

        The enemy remains quiet opposite New Bridge. There are infantry and a battery of artillery near the river, where our left column is preparing to cross. The wind is now too high to get a view opposite Mechanicsville, and I am not in immediate communication with the balloon there. By the appearance of the smoke when up I would say that we hold our ground, and more too. The Chickahominy is fast rising; in front of this point the whole fields resemble a lake.
        The enemy's wagons also seem to be stationary opposite here.

Very respectfully,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut.

 

BALLOON IN AIR, June 1, 1862---6.30 p.m.

R. B. MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        Last firing is two miles nearer Richmond than this morning. Camp-fires around Richmond as usual, showing that the enemy are back. General Humphreys and staff are now up, and will endeavor to ascertain fully and answer all your questions.

T. S. C. LOWE,
Chief Aeronaut.
 

JUNE 1, 1862--7 p.m.

Brigadier-General MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        General Humphreys and self have just descended. The enemy is still in the field opposite here, and their works are visible all along the Williamsburg and New Bridge roads to Richmond. Their barracks, which were this morning deserted, are now occupied. I can see no wagons moving in any direction. Brigadier-General Humphreys will give you a full account of the last observation. I will ascend again at daybreak to-morrow.

Your very obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut.

 

BALLOON CAMP, NEAR MECHANICSVILLE,
Sunday Morning, June 1, 1862---8.20 a.m.

        Large force in front of New Bridge. Do not think there is a very large force in front of Mechanicsville. The rebels have struck their tents in front of the above-named place (Mechanicsville).
        10.45 a.m.--The rebels are moving a brigade out of Richmond in the direction of New Bridge.
        11.10 a.m.--The brigade that I saw moving out of Richmond at 10.45 a.m. seems to be a very large one. They are followed by a train, consisting of twenty-four wagons, and have just entered the woods, which carries them out of my sight. Think they are going in the direction of New Bridge.
        The troops that were in front of New Bridge have fallen back under cover of the woods.
        (The above are copies of Major Webb's dispatches to General Marcy, as far as I can remember.) Major Webb was up in the balloon from 8 a.m. till 11.20 a.m.

JAMES ALLEN,
Assistant Aeronaut.

 

JUNE 2, 1862--5.25 a.m.

Brigadier-General HUMPHREYS, or
General MARCY,
Chief of Staff:,

        I ascended at 4.45 this a.m. Found the enemy in full force opposite this point, with their horses harnessed to their artillery. I observed their movements for half an hour; saw mounted pickets to the extreme left of the large field opposite the point where we are preparing a crossing. To the right, opposite Mechanicsville, the enemy have two large camps, and all along their line there are appearances of lively movements.
        In fifteen minutes from the time of my ascent a battery of six guns left the farther side of the field, on the New Bridge road, and came to the heights opposite here and covered themselves in the woods, just one mile and three-quarters from this point. I am confident from the present movements that they intend to intercept our crossing the river. The weather at present is calm, and a good opportunity for some officer to ascend in the Mechanicsville balloon before the storm, which I think is near at hand. I would suggest Major Webb, as he is accustomed to the balloon.

Your very obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut.

 

JUNE 2, 1862--10.15 a.m.

Brigadier-General HUMPHREYS, or
General MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        The enemy remain quiet and in the same position as reported at 8.15. Large numbers are at work throwing up earth, as before, opposite General Smith's headquarters.
        Lieutenant-Colonel Palmer could not stand an ascension, owing to vertigo.

T. S. C. LOWE,
Chief Aeronaut.

-----

McCLELLAN'S HEADQUARTERS, June 3, 1862.

Professor LOWE:

        It is reported that the enemy in force is advancing on our troops to the left, in front of Sumner and Heintzelman. Please make an ascension as soon as practicable and inform me what you discover in that direction, and make frequent ascensions afterward.

R. B. MARCY,
Chief of Staff.

-----

DOCTOR GAINES' HOUSE, June 3--2.45 p.m.

Brigadier-General MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        Just as I received your dispatch General Barnard arrived and remained up about twenty minutes. I have just descended myself. I could see no additional troops at the point you inquire about. There have been troops for the past three or four days on the New Bridge road about one mile beyond Doctor Garnett's house, or red brick house opposite here, and daily moving about in regiments forward and back as a picket force. I can discover no new movements of the enemy to-day.

T. S. C. LOWE,
Chief Aeronaut, Army of the Potomac.

        General Barnard made very frequent ascensions during the whole time our army lay before Richmond, and from observations thus taken he was better enabled to locate earth-works, &c., of which many were constructed.
        The following are dispatches without dates, which I take the liberty of adding, as they were accidentally omitted from the copies I retained.
        Before the battle of Fair Oaks:

Brig. Gen. A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Chief of Topographical Engineers:

        GENERAL: I ascended at sunrise this morning. The enemy's line of pickets in front of this point (Doctor Gaines' house) remains, as usual, from one-half to three-quarters of a mile from the Chickahominy, about one mile and a half from the heights opposite this point, and on the road from New Bridge still remains the camp noticed in my first ascent, some days since, apparently without any increase. Directly south of this point, about five miles, is a tolerable-size-d camp smoke, and I should judge about three miles and a half in advance of the main camp of General Keyes.
        The city of Richmond was entirely enveloped in smoke. The balloon at Mechanicsville was also up at the same time with me. I will make an ascent from Mechanicsville as soon as the atmosphere clears.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut.

        The three following reports were made after the battle of Fair Oaks:

Brig. Gen. A. A. HUMPHREYS:

        GENERAL: I have just completed another observation from the balloon. About three-quarters of a mile from the heights opposite here, and about two miles and a half from this point, are about six regiments of infantry. Trees have been felled beyond them, so that I can now see another small field beyond where trees were standing this morning. There is heavy smoke now rising, as though underbrush were burning. I will watch their operations and report.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

7.15 A.M.

Brigadier-General HUMPHREYS, or
General R. B. MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        The enemy remain the same opposite this point. I can see through a small open space in the woods, on what I think is the Williamsburg road, troops moving toward the late scene of action, but not in great numbers, however.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE.

 

8.15 A. M.

Brigadier-General HUMPHREYS, or
General R. B. MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        The atmosphere is now quite clear. The troops still remain quiet opposite here. On the heights opposite General Smith's headquarters and on the left-hand side of the New Bridge road, going to Richmond, the enemy are throwing up earth. Many army wagons are remaining stationary in that direction and horses grazing.

Respectfully,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut.

 

CAMP NEAR DOCTOR GAINES' HOUSE,
June 3, 1862--5 a.m.

Brigadier-General HUMPHREYS:

        I ascended this morning at an altitude of 900 feet just before 5 o'clock, but found the atmosphere so thick with mingled smoke and fog that only a few places were visible. The enemy opposite this point remain the same as yesterday, and along the heights for two miles up nothing is moving on the roads.

T. S. C. LOWE,
Chief Aeronaut, Army of the Potomac.

-----

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
June 7, 1862.

Professor LOWE :

        You will please allow Mr. Babcock to make ascensions in your balloon whenever it is convenient. He is making maps and desires to make observations.

R. B. MARCY,
Chief of Staff.

 

BALLOON CAMP,
Doctor Gaines' House, June 7, 1862.

Brigadier-General HUMPHREYS, or
General MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        I ascended at 6 o'clock and remained up in all about one hour. The enemy appears to be in larger force on our left than at any other point. Our advance and the enemy's artillery are less than one mile from each other. The artillery that I refer to is about half a mile to the left of the New Bridge road, in the field and behind the woods on the opposite heights, with horses attached; there is more in the rear, with horses picketed. Their picket-line is not so far advanced as formerly. Several squads of cavalry were visible along the opposite heights. There are large camp smokes opposite Mechanicsville and beyond, but the dense haze prevents me at this time from observing details.
        The Intrepid will lift three persons and ropes, and there will be an excellent opportunity for engineers to ascend. I will go up early in the morning again.

Your very obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut.

 

BALLOON CAMP,
Doctor Gaines' House, June 9, 1862.

Brigadier-General HUMPHREYS, or
General MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        I ascended at sundown this p.m. and find the enemy's camps located about the same as they have been for the past four or five days.
        Two sections of a battery, of three guns each, are stationed in the field (with horses attached) about three-quarters of a mile southeast from Doctor Garnett's house. Two other batteries are stationed near Old Tavern. Very heavy camps are still beyond and to the right toward Richmond. There are also three distinct camps extending from Widow Price's to Doctor Friend's, on a road this side of the New Bridge road.
        Pickets are visible near General Smith's advance, but no fires are built. The enemy's smokes immediately in front of the late battle-grounds are very light. Owing to the lateness of the hour before I could ascend, in consequence of the heavy winds, I was unable to finish my observation to the right, but will ascend as often as possible.

Your very obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut, Army of the Potomac.

 

BALLOON CAMP,
Doctor Gaines' House, June 10, 1862--4.30 p.m.

Brigadier-General HUMPHREYS,
Chief of Topographical Engineers:

        GENERAL: I ascended at 3.45 this p.m., but have nothing new to report. The enemy remain about as usual. It would be a good time for some one to ascend at Mechanicsville, but I am not able to ride there myself, and Mr. Allen is quite ill.
        The atmosphere is quite clear, but the earth is heavily shaded by clouds.

Your very obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut.

 

HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
June 11, 1862.

Professor LOWE:

        SIR: The commanding general desires you to make an ascension this evening, if but for a few moments, to try if you can see anything of a large body of the enemy, said to be in the vicinity of Old Tavern, near Mrs. Price's house.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. T. LOCKE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

BALLOON CAMP,
Near Doctor Gaines' House, June 12, 1862.

Brigadier-General HUMPHREYS, or
General MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        I ascended at about sundown this p.m. The atmosphere very hazy beyond a distance of three miles. Could see no movements of the enemy. Their camps and camp-fires remain the same as usual.

Your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut.

GENERAL MCCLELLAN'S HEADQUARTERS,
June 13, 1862.

General F. J. PORTER:

        Order Lowe to make frequent ascensions and report everything.

R. B. MARCY,
Chief of Staff.

 

The general wants you to look both ways--up and down the river and toward Mechanicsville. I send you two orderlies. Keep them till dark.

Yours,
F. T. LOCKE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

BALLOON CAMP,
Near Doctor Gaines' House, June 13, 1862--6.15 a.m.

Brigadier-General HUMPHREYS, or
General MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        I ascended at 5.15 this a.m. and remained up one hour. The cannonading during the time I was up was from James Garnett's house (according to Allen's map), and directed to one of our camps to the left of General Smith's. Owing to the dense fog and smoke a view of all the roads could not be obtained, but on those that were visible I could see no movements whatever. I will ascend again as soon as the fog clears a little.

Respectfully,
T. S. C. LOWE.

 

NEAR DOCTOR GAINES' HOUSE,
June 13, 1862--8 a.m.

Brig. Gen. A. A. HUMPHREYS, or
General MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        I have just completed another observation from the balloon. The enemy's artillery remains at the same point (James Garnett's), and, with the exception of two or three squadrons of cavalry and the usual picket, there are no other troops in position or on the visible roads. During the time of my observation the most of the enemy's shots fell short. There was no response from our side during the time.

Respectfully,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut, Army of the Potomac.

 

HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
June 13, 1862.

Professor LOWE,
Balloon Corps:

        Large bodies of the enemy are reported to be moving with baggage wagons and ambulances toward our left. The commanding general desires you will make ascensions as often as practicable, observe their movements, and send up the information to him A dispatch sent to General Morell will be forwarded by him to these headquarters.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
FRED. T. LOCKE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

        Every few days after the battle of Fair Oaks alarming reports were circulated that the enemy in large force was moving to different points to make an attack, as will be seen by the above and previous orders, although many more were sent verbally. The balloon was always called into requisition to ascertain the truth of these reports, and in almost every instance our troops, who would otherwise have been compelled to lie upon their arms for hours and perhaps days, in addition to other exposure consequent upon building earth-works, roads, bridges, &c., were allowed to return to their quarters on receiving a report from the balloon that the enemy was quiet. It often seemed to me that these false reports were circulated expressly to annoy and weary our forces, and so reliable did they sometimes appear that on several occasions I was required to take up a staff officer and point out to him the location of the enemy before our generals could be satisfied.

JUNE 13, 1862--8.15 p.m.

Brigadier-General MARCY,
Chief of Star:

        My assistant at Mechanicsville reports that he has taken several observations this afternoon, and from appearances of smoke and troops he is of the opinion that the force opposite Mechanicsville is considerably strengthened.
        I ascended from this point since my last dispatch and remained up until dark, but have nothing new to report.

Respectfully,
T. S. C. LOWE.

        The following reports of June 14 were of the greatest importance, and gave the commanding general timely notice of the intentions of the enemy and enabled him to use his facilities to the best advantage. Knowing that the enemy could, after a few days' work, fortify themselves sufficiently to hold our forces in check with a portion of their army, until the remainder would be at liberty to operate in another direction, General McClellan could make his final attack then before the enemy were any stronger, or he could fortify himself, or prepare for a retreat, or change of base, just as his facilities would permit. At all events, about two weeks later it proved that the enemy was so fortified that they held their position with but a small portion of their force, while the main body of their army was thrown against our right, which they overpowered and compelled the retreat to James River.

BALLOON CAMP,
Near Gaines' House, June 14, 1862--9.30 a.m.

Brigadier General MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        GENERAL: I ascended at 8 and remained nearly one hour at an elevation of 1,000 feet. It was perfectly calm and many fields and camps were visible that I have not been able to see for a number of days past. In almost every field and on all available hills the enemy have large working parties throwing up earth-works and digging rifle-pits.
        The camps and tents about Richmond seem to be much increased since my last good view beyond the woods. I can now count ten distinct earth-works around Richmond and can see embrasures in most of them, but cannot distinguish whether they have guns mounted in them or not. I am now marking upon the map the positions as near as possible of the earth-works now building, and will send it in to-day.

Your very obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronant.

 

BALLOON CAMP, June 14, 1862.

Brigadier-General MARCY,
Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac:

        GENERAL: Accompanying this note is a map with some of the most important earth-works represented, and in the right place, as near as I can get them according to the map. There are other places where earth has been thrown up, but I shall have to ascend again to a high altitude in order to locate them. The work that commences at Widow Price's house runs to the woods a little to the right of Old Tavern, and on the farther end I should judge that 500 or more persons were at work this morning. There is also a small work to the right of the house, running into the woods.
        The numbers upon the map are for the purpose of explaining the various points better when telegraphing from the balloon. Please preserve it for that purpose.
        I am greatly in need of a good field glass for the Mechanicsville balloon. If one can be obtained will you please send it by the orderly, and greatly oblige,

Your very obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut, Army of the Potomac.

 

BALLOON CAMP,
Near Doctor Gaines' House, June 14, 1862--6.15 a.m.

Brigadier-General MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        GENERAL: I remained in the air from 5 to 6 o'clock this morning. There appears to be no movements of the enemy upon any of the roads at this time. Many camp-fires were built during the time I was up, showing the enemy in the same position as yesterday. The artillery that was at James Garnett's house yesterday is not in sight this morning.

Your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE.

 

BALLOON CAMP,
Near Doctor Gaines' House, June 16, 1862.

Brig. Gen. R. B. MARCY,
Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac:

        GENERAL: The first ascension that I was able to make to-day was at 3.30 p.m.
        The enemy are still hard at work on their intrenchments all along their line.
        The work in front of Widow Price's extends farther along to the right than I at first supposed, as I can see by breaks in the woods when at a high altitude. It also runs some distance to the left and masked by bushes.
        After remaining up nearly one hour Colonel Alexander ascended. I then went to Mechanicsville and had a fine view from that point. The enemy there appeared to be more in force immediately opposite Meadow Bridge than between Mechanicsville and Richmond.
        There are two works in sight from the upper balloon---one near Caxton's, or No. 16, and another at 21, as marked on the map that I sent you. Much the largest force, however, and the most work going on, is in front of our left.
        While up at Mechanicsville I saw what appeared to be two regiments moving on the New Bridge road--from figure 7 toward Thorn's, with thirteen covered wagons in the rear. I then came to this point and saw them come in near Old Tavern. There are several pieces of artillery visible near James Garnett's house.
I will have a balloon in operation as soon as possible near headquarters.

Your very obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut, Army of the Potomac.

 

BALLOON CAMP,
Near Doctor Gaines' House, June 17, 1862.

Brig. Gen. R. B. MARCY:

        GENERAL: I took an observation this morning at 7 o'clock. Found the enemy still busy at work on their trenches. The work in front of Mrs. Price's seems to have been enlarged during the night. No other movements of the enemy are visible at this time.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut, Army of the Potomac.

 

BALLOON CAMP,
Near Doctor Gaines', June 19, 1862--5.30 a.m.

Brigadier-General MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        GENERAL: I ascended at 4.30 o'clock this a.m. and remained up until after 5 o'clock, when the enemy's smokes became so numerous on our left that small objects, earth-works, &c., could no longer be defined. The enemy still have artillery near James Garnett's house, and their pickets on the side of the field toward Fair Oaks extend along the edge of the field near the woods.
        The enemy appears not to be half so numerous on our right, and at this hour there are no movements of troops or wagons (save a few scattering ones) upon any of the visible roads.

T. S. C. LOWE.

        P. S.--Preparations are going on to inflate a balloon near headquarters, which I hope to have ready to-day.

LOWE.

        The principal observations being taken near headquarters, verbal reports were generally made, and I have no copies of any from the 19th to the 27th of June.
        On the 26th I reported verbally to General Humphreys that the enemy had crossed the Chickahominy in large force, and was engaging our right wing at Mechanicsville. At daybreak next morning I received the following order:

FRIDAY, June 27, 1862.

Professor LOWE:

        DEAR SIR: Ascensions must be made throughout the day, if practicable, at short intervals and reports made of what is seen.

A. A. HUMPHREYS.

 

JUNE 27, 1862---8.15 a.m.

        The heaviest cannonading at this time is near where the last headquarters were, between Doctor Gaines' house and Mechanicsville. We have large reserves across the river; our forces are in line of battle. On our left the enemy appear to be in large force in and about their intrenchments on this side of the river in the vicinity of. Doctor Friend's, and on this side very large.
        The dense smoke prevents me from seeing to Richmond. I am very unwell, and think it advisable for some good person to be constantly up.

Respectfully,
T. S. C. LOWE.

 

JUNE 27, 1862--9.20 a.m.

Brigadier-General HUMPHREYS, or
General MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        Although I reported myself ill on this occasion I will remain constantly in the balloon, and if you will send me two orderlies I will keep headquarters constantly informed of what can be seen from the balloon. My assistants that you speak of are trying to save the property in their charge. In an exact north direction from here, and about two miles and a half from the river, in an open field, there are large bodies of troops, but I should judge they were too far down on our right to be the enemy. On a hill this side of Doctor Gaines' house there is a long line of skirmishers stationary. On the field near where General Morell was camped everything is on fire.
        About four miles to the west from here the enemy have a balloon about 300 feet in the air. By appearances I should judge that the enemy might make an attack on our left at any moment. We are firing occasional shots on our left.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

JUNE 27, 1862--11 a.m.

Brigadier-General HUMPHREYS, or
General MARCY,
Chief of Staff:

        There is no firing on either side at this time. In a northerly direction, and about three or four miles from Woodbury's Bridge, there is a long line of dust running toward the York River Railroad. Quite a large body of the enemy are visible in the field where General Smith was camped, near the old headquarters. The rebel balloon suddenly disappeared about one hour since.
        The enemy in front of here remain silent in and around their earth-works and rifle-pits.

T. S. C. LOWE.

        P. S.--Can Major Webb come over and ascend?

T. S. C. L.

        Other reports were made at short intervals during the rest of the day, and at 6 o'clock I reported that the enemy on Gaines' Hill were making a desperate advance, while a large column was moving to outflank our forces on the extreme right, and evidently intended to intercept our crossing at Woodbury's Bridge. Soon after this report was made our reserves were sent to protect the crossing and to relieve those troops who had been engaged for two days.
        I have no doubt that the information given in the above reports (from what I saw myself and have since learned) saved a large portion of our troops then engaged from being taken prisoners, and also caused a strong guard to be placed at Bottom's Bridge and other crossings below, which prevented the enemy from getting into our rear.
        On the evening of the 28th I received orders to pack up everything pertaining to the aeronautic department and to be ready to move. Owing to the want of transportation to carry material for gas, the balloons were not put in use again until we reached Harrison's Landing. Here I was taken very ill with fever, which had been gradually coming on me for two or three weeks, and I was compelled to leave the army, placing the management of the aeronautic operations in charge of Mr. C. Lowe, who kept the balloon in use during the time the army remained at that place. On one occasion Commodore Wilkes had the balloon taken on the river, and while at an elevation of 1,000 feet was towed by a steamer, while the banks and country for miles back were examined.
        The following order was received from General Humphreys relative to moving from Harrison's Landing:

AUGUST 13, 1862.

Mr. LOWE:

        DEAR SIR: The balloon department will, as far as possible, go by water in the Rotary. The barge or flat will be taken also. They will keep near or accompany the steamer carrying the surplus baggage to headquarters. Colonel Ingalls will inform you which that is. The details for the balloon department will march under the orders of the officer commanding them. They will take not less than six days' rations. The wagons, teams, &c., will be turned over to the quartermaster's department.
        Perhaps one wagon may be retained to accompany the detachment of enlisted men.

A. A. HUMPHREYS.

        All transportation, &c., now being in the hands of the quartermaster's department, it was necessary for me to have an order from the commanding general before I could reorganize the aeronautic department. On the arrival of the Army of the Potomac from the Peninsula I therefore addressed the following note to Colonel Colburn, assistant adjutant-general:

NATIONAL HOTEL,
Washington, D.C., September 5, 1862.

Col. A. V. COLBURN,
Assistant Adjutant-General:

        COLONEL: Having recovered from my late illness, I came to Washington several days since hoping that I might be of service on the present occasion. I beg of you to remind the general that I am anxiously awaiting orders, and, as ever, ready and willing to serve him. Some balloon observations at this time might be of great advantage. I have everything ready to operate at a moment's notice.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Aeronaut.

        I was answered by Colonel Colburn that my services would probably soon be required, but to remain in Washington until I received orders, as the general did not yet know when he would want to use the balloons.
        I received no orders until the morning after the battle of Antietam, when a dispatch came from General Marcy to come to Sharpsburg with the balloons without delay. I started immediately, and on the third day from Washington I arrived with the train at Sharpsburg. The delay was occasioned by General A. A. Humphreys being ordered to take command of a division, and the aeronautic department having been left without the proper authority being vested in me to act independently, I was unable to accompany the army as formerly.
        During the battle of Antietam General McClellan remarked on several occasions that the balloon would be invaluable to him, and he repeated this to me when I arrived, assuring me that better facilities should be afforded me in future. It was evident that he was extremely anxious to obtain information of movements at certain points which could be furnished only by the aeronaut, which if he had obtained might have resulted in the complete defeat and utter rout of the enemy while trying to effect his escape across the Potomac. On this occasion he greatly felt the need of reports from the balloons, which, having been on so many previous occasions furnished without even being called for, were perhaps not sufficiently valued.
        On the night of my arrival the balloons were made ready, and the next morning I pointed out the enemy, who were in force near Martinsburg, Va. The balloons were kept in use at this point until the rebel army left for Winchester, and one was also employed at Bolivar Heights. The observations made here in the vicinity of mountains 1,200 feet high, were mainly of use in enabling us to change our position and approach nearer to the enemy.
        When the army took up its march into Virginia it moved in roads commanded by the mountains, and as it was not thought that balloon observations along this route were needed, I was ordered to proceed to Washington, to move out on the railroad, where better facilities for transportation, &c., could be had.
        On the 1st of November I received the following:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
November 1, 1862.

Professor LOWE:

        Under all the circumstances General McClellan thinks it best that you should return to Washington with everything pertaining to the balloon department, and hold that department in readiness to take the field at any very short notice. Acknowledge this.

S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

        There seemed to be no further use for balloons now until the army reached Fredericksburg.
        In order that the new commander of the Army of the Potomac, General Burnside, might know that I was ready for duty, I addressed the following communication to his chief of staff:

HEADQUARTERS AERONAUTIC CORPS,
Washington, November 20, 1862.

Major-General PARKE,
Chief of Star, &c.:

        GENERAL: Considering it necessary that the commanding general should be informed in relation to my operations, and the service that I am prepared to render, I would respectfully submit the following succinct statement:
        First. The U.S. aeronautic department under my direction is in excellent condition, with all the improvements just added that over a year's continual operations and experience could suggest. I have at this time six superior silk balloons with portable gas-generating apparatus, which enables me to inflate a balloon at any point in three hours sufficiently to raise two men and ropes to an elevation of 1,000 feet or more. The balloons can be used with nearly, if not quite, as good success in winter as in summer.
        Second. In order to facilitate my operations and making prompt reports, I was permitted by General McClellan to add for my use a telegraph train, with five miles of insulated wire, which will enable me to make reports directly from the car of the balloon while viewing the enemy's position. The line can be otherwise useful for transmitting other messages not connected with my department.
        Third. It being often necessary to inflate a balloon at night, and having many times performed the same under difficulties, owing to the want of light, I have introduced a powerful oxyhydrogen or calcium light for that purpose. Aside from the benefits of this light for the above purpose, it can be used to great advantage for many other purposes where night-work is to be performed, such as felling timber, building bridges, crossing streams, building earth-works, &c. One of these lights would be sufficient for at least 2,000 persons to work by with as much convenience as by daylight, and the rays can be entirely hidden from any point where it is not desirable to show them. With this apparatus light can be thrown two miles distant sufficiently powerful to work by. The cost is trifling.
        Fourth. I also have with me a set of powerful magnifying lenses with which a photograph of three inches square can be magnified to the size of twenty feet square. Thus it will be seen that a view taken at a distance too far for the objects to be discernible with the naked eye, could be easily distinguished with the magnifier. A map photographed and thus magnified would be found much easier to consult.
        Fifth. I keep with my corps a large number of small signal balloons which can be used day or night. Fires of red, white, blue, or green can be attached, which will burn more than ten times as long as a rocket, and with much greater brilliancy, and therefore can be seen with more certainty, and costs no more for them than for rockets.
        Having reduced all of the above-mentioned branches to a practical everyday working, I can be called upon for any or all of them at any time without inconvenience to the main balloon operations, and with but little expense, as the same portable gas-works can be used for them all.
        Not considering it necessary to give a detailed account of what may be done, but hoping soon to be called into active service again,

I remain, with great respect, your very obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, &c.

        On receipt of the above communication the following order was returned:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Opposite Fredericksburg, November 24, 1862.

Professor LOWE:

        The commanding general desires that you proceed to Washington and bring up the apparatus and material, so that an ascension can be made at this point as early as possible. He desires that the Quartermaster's Department furnish you such aid and assistance in Washington and en route that you may require.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. G. PARKE,

Chief of Staff.

        The next day everything was moved down to the army, but as General Burnside had deferred his operations, he desired the balloon should not be shown to the enemy till he was ready to cross the river. On the 12th of December I received orders to get the balloon ready, and the following morning (being the day of the battle of Fredericksburg) ascensions were commenced, and during the day many staff officers ascended, and much valuable information was furnished the commanding general, whose headquarters being directly under the balloon, verbal communications only were given, and no written reports are therefore inserted. Several shots were fired at the balloon during the day, one striking about two miles beyond the balloon, passing close to it, and going in all about three miles and three-quarters from where it was fired.
        Nearly all of my reports during the following month were given verbally.
        The following report was forwarded on December 22, which shows the duty that the balloon was required to do while the army was lying still:

HEADQUARTERS AERONAUTIC CORPS,
December 22, 1862.

Major-General PARKE,
Chief of Staff:

        GENERAL: By observations taken from the balloon to-day the enemy's position was very clearly defined. Their main camps are opposite to our left, and extend down the river from four to six miles, and three miles back. Earth-works appear to be thrown up on the next range of hills beyond the first line of woods, but nothing definite could be ascertained concerning them owing to the heavy smokes.
        By moving a balloon farther down the river more information can be obtained. They do not appear to have withdrawn any of their forces.

Very respectfully,
T. S. C. LOWE.

CAMP NEAR HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
January 13, 1863.

Major-General PARKE,
Chief of Staff, &c.:

        GENERAL: Please find inclosed a copy of a lithograph representing the balloon signals. Should these signals meet with the further approval of the general commanding I would respectfully ask that I may be notified as early as possible that I may have prepared a sufficient number to operate successfully. I would recommend about thirty of each denomination.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, &c.

        The signals above alluded to are not intended to take the place of anything now in use, but are simply an addition to be used in case of emergency, where it was necessary to communicate a long distance. Further mention of this will be made hereafter.
        The following orders and reports up to March 21 will be sufficient to show the principal duties performed by the aeronautic department:

HEADQUARTERS AERONAUTIC DEPARTMENT,
February 4, 1863.

General BUTTERFIELD,
Chief of Staff:

        SIR: From an observation taken this afternoon the enemy appear still in camp about three miles west of Fredericksburg; also a large camp south by west, about eight miles. The largest camp noticed appears to be south from the city about fifteen miles; also a smaller camp east by south.
        The balloons are constantly in readiness, and observations can be taken at any time when the weather will permit.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

 

HEADQUARTERS AERONAUTIC DEPARTMENT,
Camp near Falmouth, February 7, 1863.

General BUTTERFIELD,
Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac:

        SIR: According to your order I have taken advantage of all suitable weather for several days past to reconnoiter the enemy's position from the balloon. Yesterday in the afternoon the atmosphere was very clear, and from observations taken then and again to-day the various positions of the enemy could be determined by their camps and smokes. The line of hills opposite Fredericksburg and above and below the city appear to be occupied by a small force, divided into small squads, while the heaviest camp appears to be at or near Bowling Green.
        Still farther beyond, say twenty-five miles from Fredericksburg, are heavy camp smokes, which I should judge was at the junction of the Virginia Central and Richmond and Fredericksburg Railroads. Off to the right of the city, about ten or twelve miles, and some distance back from the river, are quite large camp smokes (I should think that this camp was at Spotsylvania Court-House), while in a direct line from these and near the river appears to be a camp of much smaller size.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
T. S.C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

 

FEBRUARY 7, 1863.

T. S. C. LOWE,
Chief Aeronaut, &c.:

        Your interesting report just received. What do you consider a large camp as mentioned in your report, and what a small one? About how many men?
        Keep your balloon up all you can, and confine the knowledge gained to your reports to these headquarters.
        Should like to have you locate camps on maps which General Warren will furnish you for the purpose.

DANL. BUTTERFIELD,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.

 

HEADQUARTERS AERONAUTIC DEPARTMENT,
February 23, 1863.

Major-General BUTTERFIELD,
Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac:

        SIR: I ascended with the balloon this p.m., but was unable to discover any change in the position of the enemy as far as I could see.
        To the south and southeast the atmosphere was too smoky to enable me to see anything in relation to their camp. I will ascend again as soon as the atmosphere becomes clear and furnish you with a fuller report.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
February 24, 1863.

Professor LOWE:

        SIR: The balloon ascension to be made between daylight and sunrise to-morrow a.m. should be made with a view to giving us most careful and accurate information as to the number of the enemy and their camps. Rumors that a large portion of their force had gone make it very desirable. You may be able to gain much credit for your branch of science by the care and accuracy and promptness of your report. Can't you take Lieutenant Comstock up with you?

Yours,
DANL. BUTTERFIELD,

Major-General and Chief of Staff.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
February 27, 1863.

Professor LOWE,
Balloon Corps:

        SIR: I am requested by Major-General Butterfield to direct that you place a balloon at the disposal of Lieutenant Comstock, chief engineer.

Very respectfully,
WM. L. CANDLER,

Captain and Aide-de-Camp.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Camp near Falmouth, Va., March 1, 1863.

COMMANDING OFFICER SIXTH CORPS:

        SIR: The commanding general directs that upon the application of Professor Lowe, balloonist, you furnish him with a detail of one officer, one sergeant, and thirty-five men to assist him in making an ascension near White Oak Church.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
March 12, 1863.

Professor LOWE,
Chief of Balloon Corps:

        PROFESSOR: The commanding general directs that you make frequent ascensions during the day, moving your balloon from right to left near the river. He desires that you make very close observations of the enemy, noticing any movements or work going on or changes made. Watch and note very carefully the fords and all along the river bank. Report promptly anything you may see.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

HEADQUARTERS AERONAUTIC CORPS,
March 12, 1863.

Major-General BUTTERFIELD,
Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac:

        GENERAL: I have just received an order from the general-in-chief, through General Williams, directing me to make frequent ascensions, &c., which I have made preparation to do at every favorable moment.
        I ascended early this morning from a point near Falmouth, but was unable to discover any movements of the enemy on the roads or near any of the visible fords. All the camps around Fredericksburg remain quiet as usual.
At about 8 o'clock I discerned working parties throwing up earth a short distance to the right of the city on the low land; also in the woods on the first ridge. I then moved the balloon some three miles up the river, where I can get a fine view as soon as the high wind now prevailing ceases.
        I have just received a report from one of my assistants, who ascended with the balloon down the river at 6 o'clock this morning (by my direction). Up to 8 o'clock all was quiet on the left, or as far down as the aeronaut could see, and all the camps remained as usual.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

 

HEADQUARTERS AERONAUTIC DEPARTMENT,
Near Falmouth, March 13, 1863.

Major-General BUTTERFIELD,
Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac:

        GENERAL: Between 5 and 6.30 o'clock this morning both balloons ascended, one near White Oak Church and the other about three miles up the river. No movement of the enemy was visible at that time, but all appeared to be quietly in camp, as the smoke ascended from them all. The camp smokes at Bowling Green were distinctly seen, as also one near Scott's Dam, on Golin Run, of considerable size. There is also a camp and quite a number of tents opposite Taylor's Dam. The enemy are still throwing up earth a short distance to-the right of Fredericksburg with embrasures for field pieces.
        Since early this morning the weather has been too squally to admit of ascending with the balloon. Every opportunity, however, shall be improved and reports made.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
March 17, 1863.

Professor LOWE,
Balloon Department:

        PROFESSOR: The major-general commanding directs that you make an ascension, if your balloon is in readiness, immediately after dusk, or as soon as rockets with their colors and fires are visible; that you report the color, &c., of rockets--if any can be seen--in a northwesterly or westerly direction. The colors expected are to represent signals as follows:
        One signal, green; one signal, green and red; one signal, red and white; one signal, red and green; one signal, white and red. Answering signal from intermediate stations, green. Knowing what signals are expected, you can, perhaps, more readily and surely discern them. Report with care.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
PAUL A. OLIVER,

Lieutenant and Aide-de-Camp.

 

HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY CORPS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
March 19, 1863.

General S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General:

        Professor Lowe has an arrangement for transmitting information from distant points by signal balloons, which I think might be made available and valuable with cavalry operating in the field. I have thought the subject over a good deal, and if the professor can get authority to procure the necessary apparatus I will take measures to test and, if possible, put his plan in practice.

Very respectfully, &c.,
GEORGE STONEMAN,

Brigadier-General, Commanding Corps.

[Indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
March 19, 1863.

        Respectfully referred to Professor Lowe, with the request that he will please state in substance the preparations the proposed plan will require and the probable expense of the same.

By command of Major-General Hooker:
S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

HEADQUARTERS AERONAUTIC CORPS,
Camp near Falmouth, Va., March 20, 1863.

Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac:

        GENERAL: In answer to your inquiry concerning the preparation and probable expense of testing my plan for signals by balloons, I would respectfully state that the preparation will consist in getting the balloons made of the proper material and sizes with proper attachments; constructing a variety of characters to be attached to the balloons for day signals; arranging a variety of different colored lights of great power and brilliancy in order that they may be seen a great distance. The time required to get everything ready, I think, would be about one week. The arrangement once completed, any person of ordinary intelligence can use the signals. The cost of thoroughly testing will not exceed $300, after which, if brought into use, the cost of each balloon for conveying signals will not exceed $6, where a quantity is ordered at one time.

I remain, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

 

[Indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
March 20, 1863.

Respectfully returned.

        It was inferred the tests made proved the expediency and capacity of the plan. Has not Professor Lowe balloons and signals enough on hand of the kind proposed to show their merits for this purpose? If he has, a board will be ordered immediately to report upon them. Return these papers without delay.

By command of Major-General Hooker:
S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

HEADQUARTERS AERONAUTIC CORPS,
Camp near Falmouth, Va., March 21, 1863.

Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac:

        GENERAL: In answer to your indorsement upon my communication of yesterday, I would respectfully say that I have not on hand any signal balloons of the size or quality sufficient to show the merit, or to carry up sufficient weight of material for which they are designed.
        I have some few balloons left of those ordered by Major-General Burnside, for experiments, but were gotten up in a hurry, and made of very poor material, but the best that could be obtained at the time. They will do very well to use for instruction. I have on hand a quantity of colored fires, but will require to be arranged differently, with some addition, in order to give the full effect and brilliancy desired. I have not any of the proper material on hand for the flags. My extreme estimate of the expense of these experiments was based upon the supposition that a large number of the signals would require to be sent up, embracing every variety of lights, flags, and characters upon the balloons, in order to choose the most desirable.

I am, general, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

[Indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
March 21, 1863.

        Respectfully returned.
        Under the circumstances not favorably considered. General Stoneman to be informed by Professor Lowe.

By command of Major-General Hooker:
S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

        By the decision in this matter General Stoneman was deprived of a very valuable means of communicating with the commanding general while operating in the interior of the enemy's country. With the signal balloons alluded to General Stoneman could have been heard from every night, and answered from Fredericksburg, which certainly in his last famous raid would have been of great value both to him and to General Hooker.
        These intense lights by the aid of balloons, varying in size from ten to twenty feet in diameter, can be sent from 3,000 feet to three miles in the air, and can be seen from 15 to 100 miles, according to the size of the lights. At any rate I would not hesitate on any clear night (with the proper facilities) to guarantee to signal even to a greater distance.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
March 21, 1863.

Prof. T. S. C. LOWE, &c.:

        By direction of the General-in-Chief, you will report on Monday morning next to the Committee of Congress on the Conduct of the War, now sitting in the Capitol.

By command of Major-General Hooker:
S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

BALLOON CAMP,
Near Falmouth, Va., March 22, 1863.

Professor LOWE:

        SIR: Lieutenant Comstock went up to-day in the Washington. It was very calm, and I let the balloon ascend to an elevation of 2,000 feet, where he remained one hour and a half in full view of the enemy's camps and works for twenty miles distant. The balloon was then towed, at an elevation of 1,000 feet, three miles on our left, with him in the car of the balloon. He expressed himself gratified with the knowledge thus obtained.

Respectfully,
JAMES ALLEN,

Aeronaut, in Charge of Balloon Washington.

 

BALLOON CAMP,
Near Phillips' House, March 26, 1863.

Prof. T. S. C. LOWE:

        SIR: Made an ascension this 12 m. The largest camps of the enemy that could be seen were south and southwest from Fredericksburg. One very extensive camp about eight miles south from the city. I also discovered what I judge to be earth-works (new) from four to six miles west of the city. If earth-works, they are extensive. Could discover nothing of note up the river.

Yours, respectfully,
E. S. ALLEN,

Aeronaut.

 

MARCH 27, 1863.

Hon. B. F. WAVE,
Chairman of Committee on Conduct of the War:

        SIR: Please find accompanying this note fifty-one reports of observations taken by me from the balloons during the latter part of May and the month of June, 1862, and forwarded to headquarters Army of the Potomac. They embrace but a small portion of the observations taken, but are all of the copies that I can now readily reach. It will be found that some few of these reports are without date, which is accounted for from the fact that they were sometimes written while in the balloon car and sent down to be copied and forwarded, and the persons who did this neglected to place dates upon the copies retained, as they were not considered of further value.

I remain, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics.

 

BALLOON CAMP,
Near Falmouth, Va., March 27, 1863.

Professor LOWE:

        SIR: To-day the balloon Washington was taken six miles to the left, and Lieutenant Comstock, Colonel Upton, and Major ------, ascended separately, all of whom spoke in the highest terms of the advantage of this movable observatory, after which she was taken to her moorings.

Respectfully.
JAMES ALLEN,

Aeronaut, in Charge of Balloon Washington.

 

HDQRS. AERONAUTIC DEPARTMENT, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
March 30, 1863.

Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac:

        GENERAL: I herewith respectfully report myself returned for duty to the Army of the Potomac, having been relieved for the present from the duties for which I was ordered to report there on the 23d instant.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

        The following report contains many interesting facts concerning the system of aeronautics now employed and others proposed, to which I would call special attention; also to a letter following of April 1 from the present aeronauts in the Army of the Potomac:

HEADQUARTERS AERONAUTIC DEPARTMENT,
Camp near Falmouth, Va., March 30, 1863.

Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac:

        GENERAL: On the 21st of this month I received from you an article setting forth a new plan for operating balloons for military purposes, proposed by a Mr. B. Englend, and referred to me for an expression of opinion and report. In consequence, however, of my time being occupied during the past week in Washington before the Committee of Congress on the Conduct of the War, I have not been able to make a report until now.
        In examining the papers I find many misstatements concerning the present balloon operations, which, in justice to myself and those connected with this department, I feel in duty bound to set right.
        First, then, in comparing the two methods, he states that "the time required to inflate a balloon by the present mode is fifteen hours," when in fact it never required over three hours and fifteen minutes, and since adding my last improvements Mr. Allen, one of my assistants, informs me that the gas now makes in two hours and thirty minutes instead of fifteen hours as represented.
        Second. He states that the cost of inflating now for a simple inflation is $400, when the actual cost is only about $60 now; and when the iron (which we now obtain free of cost at the Washington Navy-Yard) had to be purchased, the cost was then in the neighborhood of $75, which, when divided into fourteen (the number of days the balloons will retain their power, on the average), the cost per day for gas will be about $5.30. Of course this does not include contingent expenses.
        Third. Mr. Englend states that it now requires 12,000 pounds of acid and iron for a single inflation, when, in fact, that amount will keep two balloons inflated from three to four weeks.
        Fourth. He states that it now requires twelve or fourteen wagons, when the facts are that it never did require over seven wagons to haul four balloons and appendages and material to keep them inflated, and all camp and garrison equipage for the whole aeronautic corps.
        Now that I have made the above corrections, I will give my opinion (as I am ordered to do so) of the relative advantages between the method proposed and the one now employed.
        First. According to the statement of Mr. Englend, it requires a bulk of 68,000 cubic feet to lift the same weight that now requires 15,000 cubic feet, much lees than a quarter of the capacity of the balloon which he proposes. After figuring the weight of the appendages, which he puts down at 750 pounds, he then has left 250 pounds ascensive power. Now, considering that nine-tenths of the ascensions now made require an ascensive power of 400 to 600 pounds in order to counteract the force of the wind against the side of a balloon, it is certain that with a bulk more than four times as large and weight and with less than a quarter of the power, it could not ascend at all; or, in other words, when the balloon of 15,000 cubic feet capacity lifting 1,000 pounds, with weight of apparatus and two persons, between 400 and 500 pounds, can ascend from 1,000 to 2,000 feet, the balloon of 68,000 feet capacity and weighing 750 pounds, with a lifting power of 1,000, could not be held by fifty men against the wind, and would be blown to the earth.
        Second. I should say that it would be impossible to tow from place to place a balloon of the kind last mentioned; therefore should two ascensions be required at different points in one day (as is often the case, in order to make a full and correct report), the balloon would have to be inflated at each point, which would be another impossibility, and would involve the expense of $250, according to the cost set down for each inflation. Besides, the constant handling of the machinery must necessarily soon wear it out.
        I would here take occasion to say that the balloons now in service have been in use for nearly two years; have been inflated from one to two months without changing the gas; have stood the storms of two winters, and are kept constantly ready to ascend at five minutes' notice (whenever the weather will admit), and ascend four times higher than ever was done (by ropes) before, These are circumstances which history affords no parallel in any country. Notwithstanding this, I would respectfully recommend that Mr. Englend be permitted to try his experiments in the field beside the present balloon operations, in order to compare fairly the relative advantages of the two upon precisely the same grounds that I was allowed to try my first experiments, namely, with his own balloon and apparatus and at his own expense.
        In conclusion, I would beg to state that the knowledge I have acquired in the aeronautic art has cost me much means and expense and many years of hard labor; therefore I would most respectfully ask that this report will not be furnished to Mr. Englend or his associates, as I desire not to instruct any persons except in the U.S. service.

I remain, general, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

 

BALLOON CAMP,
Near Falmouth, Va., April 1, 1863.

Prof. T. S. C. LOWE,
Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac:

        SIR: In accordance with your request that I should furnish you with a report of my operations previous to my employment under your direction and my opinion of your system of aeronautics, that you may avail yourself of it in your report to the Secretary of War, I would most respectfully submit the following:
        For a number of years previous to the breaking out of this war I followed the profession of an aeronaut, as then practiced by the leaders in that art. At the commencement of the rebellion I was induced by my friends to offer my services to the Government. I did so, and for the purpose of demonstrating what I could do I brought on two balloons in July, 1861. Some experiments were made before an officer of the Topographical Engineers, appointed for that purpose, After witnessing my operations he pronounced them unsatisfactory, although I had, as a general thing, been as successful as other aeronauts had previously been. After ascertaining what was expected of balloons, and under what circumstances they would have to be operated, in' order to meet the requirements of those not acquainted with the art, I came to the conclusion that balloons could not be introduced into the U.S. service without an entire different arrangement. Not only must decided improvements be made in the balloon and paraphernalia, but the balloon must be inflated at short notice, and at different points in the field, and for that purpose there was no apparatus yet invented. After thus summing up the matter I returned to my home in Providence and subsequently watched with much interest the report of your progress in aeronautics for war purposes, until in the spring of 1862 you invited me to join your corps, since which time I have received much valuable information and instruction from you in the use of your inventions, which now enables me to operate with entire success, and, I believe, satisfactory to you, as I have often had evidence.
        In conclusion, I can conscientiously say that the Government is indebted to you alone for the introduction of this useful branch of the public service, and were it not for your improvements in the construction of balloons and invention of portable gas generators, your untiring perseverance, hard labor, and exposure, against great obstacles, aeronauts could never have been of service to our Army.
        Balloons, as usually constructed, could not be kept inflated in heavy winds, and at best could not hold their power but a few hours, whereas now the balloons are kept constantly ready to go up, day or night. From their manner of construction and great strength they are able to withstand any storm, and enables the aeronaut to ascend in nearly all weathers, and are so impervious that they can be kept inflated for months with but little replenishing, and consequently trifling expense. These are qualities heretofore unknown in the history of aeronautics, and are merits that deserve the highest commendation.

I remain, professor, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
JAMES ALLEN,

Aeronaut.

 

        I cordially concur in the foregoing as regards the superiority of Professor Lowe's system of aeronautics over former attempts. I have been engaged in ballooning for a number of years past and have been employed under the direction of Professor Lowe for the past five months. I have received much valuable instruction from him in the use of his new system of aeronautics for army purposes, without which balloons could not be used to any advantage in the field.

E. S. ALLEN,
Aeronaut.

 

SPECIAL ORDERS No. 95.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Camp near Falmouth, April 7, 1863.

* * * * * * * * * *

12. Capt. C. B. Comstock, Corps of Engineers, is assigned to the immediate charge of the balloon establishment, and hereafter no issues or expenditure will be made on account of the same, except upon requisitions and accounts approved by that officer.

By command of Major-General Hooker:
S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

Professor LOWE.

ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Near Falmouth, April 9, 1863.

Capt. C. B. COMSTOCK,
Corps of Engineers, Army of the Potomac:

        CAPTAIN: I am notified by a copy of Special Orders, No. 95, of April 7, 1863, that the balloon establishment is placed in your charge. Will you therefore please inform me of what duties I am expected to perform under your direction, that I may know how to proceed without conflicting with your arrangements.

I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 10, 1863.

Hon. P. H. WATSON,
Assistant Secretary of War:

        SIR: In view of the present situation of our forces in the vicinity of Charleston and Baton Rouge, I would respectfully beg leave to submit the following statement:
        I have a faithful person (aeronaut) who has been operating under my direction in this department for over a year; therefore, inasmuch as I have another assistant and some soldiers whom I have instructed sufficiently to help manage the balloon here, Mr. Allen--the person alluded to--could be spared for one of the other places. A complete set of apparatus is ready and can be shipped at short notice if required. The balloons here are constantly ready, and are used nearly every day more or less, and I have made preparation to render the utmost service at the next battle. The report that you requested from me is in progress and will soon be completed. It required more time than I at first supposed.

I remain, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

 

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., April 12, 1863.

Capt. C. B. COMSTOCK,
Corps of Engineers:

        CAPTAIN: Between 5 and 7 o'clock this p.m. I made two ascents with the balloon near White Oak Church, and obtained a very good view of the enemy's camps for a distance of about five miles. Beyond that distance the atmosphere was quite smoky. Along the ridge for a distance of about seven miles the enemy's camps are quite numerous, the heaviest being southwest, south, and southeast from where the balloon is anchored. From appearances I should judge they are fully as strong as ever. A clearer atmosphere, however, will enable me to form a better idea of their relative strength, &c.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE.

        On the 12th of April I received the following order and instructions, which, considering the services I had rendered for two years and the experience I had acquired, I respectfully submit to the Honorable Secretary were as unnecessary as they were unexpected. I would call especial attention to the following communications up to May 7, 1863 (at which time I left the Army of the Potomac), that the Honorable Secretary may judge of my conduct under very embarrassing circumstances:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 12, 1863,

Mr. T. S. C. LOWE, &c.:

        As I informed you yesterday, I do not think the interests of the public service require the employment of C. Lowe, your father, or of John O'Donnell. Please inform me whether you have, as desired, notified them of the fact.
        I also stated to you that it might be necessary for the public interest to reduce your pay from $10 to $6 per day. I also mentioned some general rules to be observed by all civil employés connected with the balloons. Some of them are repeated here, and you will please notify your subordinates of them: No absences from duty without my permission will be allowed, and pay will be stopped for the time of absence.
        In camp, when the wind is still, ascensions should be made at morning, noon, and night, the labor being equally divided among the aeronauts, and reports made to me in writing of all that is observed during the day. If anything important was observed it should be reported at once. These reports should give the bearings of the important camps observed, and the camps should be numbered from right to left, No. 1 being on the right. You, as having larger experience, are expected to make these ascensions frequently, and to be responsible that no camp disappears and no new one appears without its being reported at once. You will also be held responsible that the apparatus is kept in good order; that the aeronauts attend to their duty; that the necessary requisitions are sent in for supplies, and generally for the efficiency and usefulness of the establishment, as well as its economical management.

Very respectfully,
C. B. COMSTOCK,

Captain of Engineers and Chief Engineer Army of the Potomac.

        I asked you yesterday for an inventory of all public property under your charge. Please send it to me to-morrow.

 

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., April 12, 1863.

Maj. Gen. D. BUTTERFIELD,
Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac:

        GENERAL: From a copy of Special Orders, No. 95, April 7, 1863, I am informed that the balloon establishment is placed in charge of Capt. C. B. Comstock, Corps of Engineers, to whom I reported immediately on receipt of the above order. In conversation with him yesterday I learned that different arrangements were to be made, and among other things he informed me that my compensation for services were reduced from $10 per day to $6. This Captain Comstock does, I have no doubt, in good faith, and from the view which he takes of this department as it now stands.
        Now, in justice to myself and the service in which I am engaged, I beg to submit the following succinct statement:
        At the breaking out of the rebellion I was urged to offer my services to the Government as an aeronaut. I did so, at the sacrifice of my long-cherished enterprise in which I had expended large sums of money and many years hard labor, and which, if successful, would compensate me for my expenditure and place aeronautics among the first branches of useful science.
        (The enterprise above alluded to could not now be revived, except under the most favorable circumstances.)
        During my first operations for the Government I had three competitors in the field and many more applicants. I used my own machinery and expended considerable private means, and two months' labor, for all of which I have never received pay.
        My system of aeronautics was selected, and I was offered $30 per day for each day I would keep one balloon inflated in the field ready for officers to ascend. (This was when it was supposed balloons could not be kept constantly inflated, as is now the case.) I declined this offer and offered my services for $10 per day, as I desired to continue during the war and add to my reputation; besides, that amount would be sufficient to support my family. Ever since then I have labored incessantly for the interest of the Government, and I have never shrunk from duty or danger whenever it was necessary to gain information for the commanding general.
        For nearly two years, aside from doing all the business of this department, I have made frequent personal reconnaissances and have attended to the management of several balloons for different officers to ascend until within the past two or three weeks, during which time I have been occupied by order of the Secretary of War in preparing a history of this branch of the service, &c., at the same time keeping an eye to the proper management of the balloons, which have been kept in constant use, attended by my assistants.
        General, I feel aggrieved that my services should not have been better appreciated. As it is, I cannot honorably serve for the sum named by Captain Comstock without first refunding to the Government the excess of that amount which I have been receiving ever since I have been in the service. This my very limited means will not allow, for it requires full the salary I have received to support myself in the field and my family at home; therefore, out of respect to myself and the duty I owe my family, it will be impossible for me to serve upon any other conditions than those with which I entered the service.
        Notwithstanding, as I have promised the commanding general that nothing should be lacking on my part to render the greatest possible service during the next battle, and as I consider that all should be done that genius can devise to make the first move successful, I will offer my services until that time free of charge to the Government.

I remain, general, with great respect,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Aeronaut.

        The following are five [four] indorsements made upon the foregoing document:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 13, 1863.

        Respectfully returned to Professor Lowe, to be forwarded through the proper channel to Captain Comstock, chief of engineers.

By command of Major-General Hooker:
S. F. BARSTOW,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

-----

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., April 13, 1863.

        Respectfully forwarded to Capt. C. B. Comstock, chief engineer, Army of the Potomac.
        It was supposed that this was properly addressed, and I take pleasure in rectifying the mistake.

T. S.C. LOWE,
Aeronaut.

Respectfully forwarded.

        It is believed that during the two years Mr. Lowe has been receiving $10 per day for his services he has been compensated for the sacrifices made, and that $6 per day is ample payment for the duties he has to perform at present.

C. B. COMSTOCK,
Captain of Engineers and Chief Engineer Army of the Potomac.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 15, 1863.

        Respectfully returned.
        See indorsement of Captain Comstock, Engineer Department, in charge of balloons.

By command of Major-General Hooker:
S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

WAR DEPARTMENT,
Washington City, April 13, 1863.

T. S. C. LOWE,
Chief of Aeronautics, Headquarters Army of the Potomac :

        SIR: The Secretary of War directs me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 10th instant stating that you can spare an experienced aeronaut, should his services be required in the vicinity of Charleston or Baton Rouge, and that a complete set of balloon apparatus is ready and can be shipped at short notice. In reply the Secretary directs me to instruct you to have all necessary preparations completed as soon as possible. You will advise this Department of the weight and bulk of the apparatus and supplies, and also when and from what point the aeronaut you recommend will be ready to start.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. H. WATSON,

Assistant Secretary of War.

 

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., April 19, 1863.

        Respectfully referred to Gen. S. Williams, assistant adjutant-general.
        The within has been complied with, and Mr. James Allen named as the person that could be spared, inasmuch as I have another person to take his place here, and he would be best suited for another point.
        In my judgment the above arrangement will not in the least interfere with the successful operations of the balloons in this army. Therefore I would respectfully recommend that Mr. Allen be ordered to report for the above duty at once.

Very respectfully,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 19, 1863.

        The accompanying communication is respectfully returned to Professor Lowe, to be forwarded through Captain Comstock, engineer, who is in charge of the balloon department. The commanding general desires to be informed why the letter to the Secretary of War, to which the answer is in reply, was not transmitted through headquarters.

By command of Major-General Hooker:
S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, April 20, 1863.

Capt. C. B. COMSTOCK,
Chief of Engineers, Army of the Potomac:

        CAPTAIN: According to your directions, I referred the inclosed letter from the Assistant Secretary of War to General Williams, who has returned it with the accompanying note.
        In answer to the commanding general, why my letter to the Assistant Secretary of War was not transmitted through headquarters, I would respectfully state that I was not aware that it was customary to do so, and if in my zeal to render service to the Government I have overstepped the bounds prescribed by military law I can only say that it was unintentional.

I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 20, 1863.

        Respectfully forwarded, and indorsement of T. S. C. Lowe not approved.

C. B. COMSTOCK,
Captain of Engineers and Chief Engineer Army of the Potomac.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 20, 1863.

        On the 19th instant Mr. T. S.C. Lowe, aeronaut, informed me that he had been directed by the Honorable Secretary of War.to send a balloon and aeronaut to Charleston, and that he had selected Mr. J. Allen. At my request he showed me the accompanying letter from the Assistant Secretary of War.
        I informed him that such orders should come to me from the adjutant-general of this army, and not from himself; that he, not being in charge of the balloon establishment, had not the power to change it; and that I did not think it consistent with the interests of this army to detach Mr. J. Allen from it at present. A balloon can be spared without detriment.

Respectfully forwarded to adjutant-general, Army of the Potomac.
C. B. COMSTOCK,

Captain of Engineers and Chief Engineer Army of the Potomac.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 21, 1863.

Respectfully returned.

        Captain Comstock will make the necessary arrangements for the balloon to be placed at the disposal of the War Department and advise the Assistant Secretary of War, as herein directed.
        If it is possible for him to spare an aeronaut he will name the one selected in his communication concerning the balloons.

By command of Major-General Hooker:
S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Camp near Falmouth, Va., April 15, 1863.

Hon. P. H. WATSON,
Assistant Secretary of War, Washington, D.C.:

        SIR: Your letter of the 13th instant is received, and in answer would respectfully state that the weight and bulk of the apparatus and supplies necessary for the balloon to be sent South or West are as follows. Two balloons and appendages, about 500 pounds, in a basket three feet by five and two feet deep.
        One set of gas generators to go in two army-wagon running gears, same dimension as wagon body and five feet high, weighing about 1,000 pounds each. Material to keep one balloon inflated day and night for two months will consist of 100 carboys of sulphuric acid, weighing about 16,000 pounds, and twenty barrels of iron turnings, weighing about 10,000 pounds. The cost of the above amount of gas material, as now purchased, is about $350--1ess than $6 dollars per day. The acid can be obtained from Messrs. Savage & Stewart, No. 18 North Front street, Philadelphia, Pa.; the iron at the Washington Navy-Yard. The aeronaut, Mr. James Allen, will be in Washington on Monday next, with everything complete and ready to start from that point, provided the quartermaster procures the acid and iron above mentioned. The salary required by Mr. Allen is $5 per day with rations, or $5.75 per day without rations, and all necessary transportation.

I remain, sir, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

 

BALLOON CAMP,
Near Falmouth, April 14, 1863.

Professor LOWE,
Chief of Aeronautics:

        An extensive camp seven miles southwest of Sherwood's forest; one extensive camp southeast of Sherwood's forest, about five miles; one southwest of the left of our picket line, about four miles from the river; one extensive camp eight miles from the left of our picket line in a south-southwesterly direction. About ten miles from Sherwood's forest in a westerly direction I saw a large column moving to our right, or the left of the enemy.

I am, sir, yours, respectfully,
JAMES ALLEN,

Aeronaut.

 

HEADQUARTERS AERONAUTIC DEPARTMENT,
Camp near Falmouth, Va., April 14, 1863.

Capt. C. B. COMSTOCK,
Chief Engineer, Army of the Potomac:

        CAPTAIN: On hearing that Mr. Allen saw a column (while in the balloon near White Oak Church) moving to the right, I immediately went up in the balloon near Falmouth Station to observe if any extra camp smoke or fires could be seen to the west, but was unable to notice any change, except a few camp-fires not noticed before, on the road from Fredericksburg toward Chancellorsville, I should judge about six miles. All the rest of the camps remain the same as usual.
        This p.m. three regiments were drilling on the fiats, two to the south and one to the right of Fredericksburg.
        The following are the compass bearings of the various camps, as seen by Mr. E. S. Allen from balloon near Falmouth Station.
        Extreme right to extreme left: No. 1, 8 to 4 miles west; No. 2, 2 miles west by south; No. 3, 2 miles southwest by west; No. 4, 2 to 3 miles southwest: No. 5, 2 to 3 miles southwest by south; No. 6, 2 miles south; No. 7, 4 to 5 miles south: No. 8, 8 to 10 miles south.
        The usual amount of smoke arose from all the above camps this evening.
        It is evident, from all appearances, that the enemy have not made any considerable move as yet.
        The balloons will be up at daybreak if the weather will admit.

Very respectfully,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

 

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., April 17, 1863.

Capt. C. B. COMSTOCK,
Chief Engineer, Army of the Potomac:

        CAPTAIN: During my observations to-day I was unable to discover any changes in the position of the enemy. The following is the compass bearing, taken of the enemy's position by Mr. Allen, from the Phillips house, which I find to be as near correct as is possible to get from that point.
        Position of the enemy's camps as observed from balloon Eagle, April 17, 1863, beginning with the most distant one, west from Phillips' house, Va.:
        No. 1, west 5 miles (large camp); No. 2, west by south 3 miles; No. 3, west by south 6 to 8 miles; No. 4, southwest by west 2 miles (large camp); No. 5, southwest by west 12 to 15 miles (large camp); No. 6, southwest 3 miles; No. 7, southwest by south 3 miles; No. 8, southwest by south 10 to 12 miles (large camp); No. 9, south 2 miles (large camp); No. 10, south 3 to 4 miles; No. 11, south 8 to 10 miles (large camp). Three or four small camps near the river bank, south by east.

Very respectfully,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics.

-----

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., April 18, 1863.

Capt. C. B. COMSTOCK,
Chief Engineer, Army of the Potomac:

        CAPTAIN: Inclosed is Mr. Allen's report of observations taken to-day. I ascended this p.m. (the atmosphere being clearer in the west) and could see no change. The camp smoke arose from the usual places as far as I could see.
        I could not get very high, however, in consequence of the strong breeze blowing at the time.

Very respectfully,
T. S. C. LOWE.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 19, 1863.

T. S. C. LOWE,
Chief Aeronaut:

        Please inform me what has been the custom when on the march. Have the balloon guard moved with the balloon trains? And are two escorts, namely, the two details we now have needed, or only one, or none, in case of a movement?
        Please let me know what material you think should go when we move.
        These things should all be thought of and arranged, my approval only being needed.

Very respectfully,
C. B. COMSTOCK,

Captain of Engineers and Chief Engineer Army of the Potomac.

 

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., April 19, 1863.

Capt. C. B. COMSTOCK,
Chief of Engineers, Army of the Potomac:

        CAPTAIN: In answer to yours of this date asking what has been the custom when on the march, and whether the present escort are needed or not, I would state that it has been customary for the men detached on the balloon service to accompany the aeronautic train in order that balloon observations may be taken along the route when required.
        I would recommend that the details for both balloons be retained, inasmuch as considerable pains have been taken to instruct them in the requirements of the department. This will enable us to tow the balloons along as the army advances and take observations whenever required; and should bad weather compel us to discharge the gas, sufficient material should be taken along to reinflate, which can be done in the night, and observations taken of the enemy's position and the roads they take at daylight in the morning. I anticipate that the balloon can be of more service when moving than at any other time, provided we are following the enemy. I informed Captain Howard, assistant quartermaster, what transportation would be necessary for this department, and he informs me that he has set the same aside for our use, namely, seven wagons.

Very respectfully, yours, &c.,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 20, 1863.

Mr. T. S. C. LOWE,
Aeronaut:

        Please send me the names of three or four persons whom you deem best qualified to take charge of an independent balloon, with their addresses, not including those aeronauts With this army.

Respectfully,
C. B. COMSTOCK,

Captain, &c.

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, April 20, 1863.

Capt. C. B. COMSTOCK,
Chief Engineer, Army of the Potomac:

        CAPTAIN: In answer to yours of this date asking for the names of three or four persons whom I deem best qualified to take charge of a balloon, I would respectfully say that I cannot name but two persons whom I could recommend for the Government service, aside from those already employed, although if occasion requires it I might select several who could be instructed in the use of army balloons.
        The names of the two persons above alluded to are Mr. W. S. Morgan, No. 293 Second street, Jersey City, N.J., and Mr. J.B. Starkweather, Boston, Mass. Both of these parties, placed under an experienced army aeronaut, would render good service.

Very respectfully, &c.,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

 

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., April 21, 1863.

Captain COMSTOCK:

        I ascended at about sundown this evening, but the atmosphere was too hazy to admit of a detailed examination of the enemy's position. All the principal camps, however, were visible and appear unchanged, I have taken a large balloon (capable of taking up two persons) to the left this p.m.

Respectfully, &c.,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics Army of the Potomac.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 21, 1863.

Mr. T. S. C. LOWE,
Aeronaut:

        Please have a balloon put in condition, so far as is practicable here, to be placed at the disposal of the Honorable Secretary of War at once. Please also inform me when it and machinery will be ready to be turned over to the quartermaster for transportation, and if there are any repairs needed which cannot be done here or anything needed to its efficiency not to be obtained here, please furnish me with a statement of such things in full. Also make out a list of everything needed to go with it. Also please inform me which of the two persons recommended by you as aeronauts a few days ago you deem best qualified to accompany the balloon.

Very respectfully,
C. B. COMSTOCK,

Captain of Engineers.

 

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., April 21, 1863,

Capt. C. B. COMSTOCK,
Chief of Engineers, Army of the Potomac:

        CAPTAIN: In answer to yours of this date I would respectfully say that all of the balloons, with the exception of the two now in use (needing repairs that could not readily be done in the field), were:sent to Washington on the 17th with the balloon barge and old generators, which also need repairs. The balloons were sent to the Columbian Armory, where they have always been taken for repairs or storage, there being a large room for that purpose.
        I intended four balloons to be kept in readiness for this army, and that two should be sent with the aeronaut that goes South, in order that he may operate with economy and to advantage. As to repairs to the balloons, it will be impossible to state exactly what they are until they are thoroughly examined. The principal things, however, for the two that I intended for the South are turning inside out, recoating, and inserting new top and valve in one of them.
        As to the two aeronauts, of whom you desire me to name the one best qualified to be placed at the disposal of the War Department, I would state that, in my opinion, for that service neither of them would answer, unless directed by an experienced army aeronaut who has had experience in the management of balloons for war purposes, which is quite different from the art practiced in the ordinary way. Therefore if you do not desire to send the aeronaut first named by me, under all the circumstances I would most respectfully ask to be ordered to report to the Secretary of War in his stead. With this arrangement the wishes of the Honorable Secretary could be complied with, and at the same time all machinery could be kept in order for all points where balloons are used.

I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Aeronaut.

 

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., April 22, 1863.

Capt. C. B. COMSTOCK,
Chief of Engineers, Army of the Potomac:

        CAPTAIN: I examined the enemy's position more closely this p.m., between 4 and 6 o'clock, than I have had an opportunity of doing for a number of days past. If I might be permitted to venture an opinion as to the relative strength of the enemy, I should say that they are about three to our four. I should estimate their supports to the batteries immediately back of the city of Fredericksburg to be about 10,000.
        Immediately opposite where General Franklin crossed, say from two to three miles from the river, and from the railroad station along the height about one mile and a half, I should say that there were 25,000 troops camped.
        Still farther to the left and south of the railroad there are also several large camps. During the time I was up I noticed many regiments on parade, near the various camps, and at one place there were three, while still farther back, I should judge four miles from the river and one mile to the left of the railroad, I saw a column of infantry moving to the right which required about twenty minutes to pass a given point, after I discovered them, and I counted what I took to be seven regiments. They had no colors flying as those did that were on parade.
        Should the morning be fine I should be gratified to ascend with you, and could then better explain the points referred to. I am inclined to believe that the enemy are either strengthening their army or bringing up their troops from Bowling Green and the Junction. The latter is the most probable, as there is not as much smoke visible in that direction as heretofore.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics.

        On the 27th General Butterfield ordered me to make frequent ascensions, and to report to him and to General Sedgwick. Captain Comstock was then absent, and I did not see him until the 6th of May.
        The following orders and reports relative to observations during the seven-days' battle I think worthy of special attention, as they show what can be done by the balloons when required, and they demonstrate their value as a means of observation, although there might be occasions when even more service could be rendered:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 28, 1863.

Professor LOWE,
Chief of Balloon Department:

        PROFESSOR: The general commanding desires you to have your balloon up to-night, to see where the enemy's camp-fires are. Some one acquainted with the position and location of the ground and the enemy's forces should go up.

Very respectfully,
PAUL A. OLIVER,

Lieutenant and Aide-de-Camp.

 

BALLOON IN THE AIR,
April 29, 1863--10 a.m.

Major-General SEDGWICK,
Commanding Left Wing, Army of the Potomac:

        GENERAL: The enemy's line of battle is formed in the edge of the woods at the foot of the heights from opposite Fredericksburg to some distance to the left of our lower crossing. Their line appears quite thin compared with our force. Their tents all remain as heretofore, as far as can be seen.

T. S. C. LOWE,
Aeronaut.

 

12 M.

        The enemy's infantry are moving to our right about four miles below our crossing on a road just beyond the heights. The enemy do not appear to advance.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

1.30 P.M.

        The enemy are moving wagon trains to their rear. Their force, which is in position opposite our crossing, is very light. I should judge not more than we now have across the river.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

2.45 P.M.

        About two regiments of the enemy's infantry have just moved forward from the heights and entered the rifle-pits opposite our lower crossing. Heavy smokes are visible about six miles up the river on the opposite side in the woods.

T. S. C. LOWE,
Chief of Aeronautics.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 29, 1863.

Professor LOWE, &c.:

        The major-general commanding directs that one of your balloons proceeds to-night or before daybreak to-morrow to Banks' Ford, or vicinity, and takes position to ascertain with regard to the force of the enemy between Fredericksburg, Bowling Green, and Banks' Ford. A signal telegraph is working between here and Banks' Ford, by which information can be communicated.
        It is especially desired to know the comparative strength of the enemy's force at Franklin's Crossing, and in the vicinity of Banks' Ford, and above to the west of Fredericksburg.

BUTTERFIELD,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.

-----

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 29, 1863.

Maj. Gen. J. SEDGWICK,
Commanding Sixth Corps:

        GENERAL: The commanding general desires that you will please have the accompanying communication sent at once to Professor Lowe, who is supposed to be in your vicinity.

Very respectfully, &c.,
S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 29, 1863.

Professor LOWE, &c.:

        The major-general commanding directs that your balloon on service near Sedgwick's command be sent up at a very early hour in the morning before sunrise, and that you get a communication with the signal telegraph to forward to these headquarters the earliest information with regard to the numbers, strength, and position of the enemy. This is not to interfere with the service of the balloon at Banks' Ford.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

APRIL 29, 1863

JAMES ALLEN,
In Charge of Balloon Washington:

        You will have your men prepare one or two days' rations to-night, and in the morning have the men all ready to cross the river by daybreak. I will meet you where the balloon is now anchored.

Very respectfully, &c.,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics.

 

HEADQUARTERS AERONAUTIC CORPS,
April 29, 1863.

Mr. E. S. ALLEN,
In Charge of Balloon Eagle:

        General Hooker desires a reconnaissance made after dark to observe the location of the enemy's camp-fires. Also in the morning immediately before daybreak. Great care should be taken to gain all the information you can. Please make a careful report after 9 o'clock to-night and soon after daylight in the morning. A high altitude should be attained in order to accomplish the object desired. Be careful you observe the points of the compass correctly.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut, Army of the Potomac.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 29, 1863.

Maj. Gen. JOHN SEDGWICK:

        GENERAL: I shall be absent to-morrow morning at Banks' Ford and vicinity, and if I may venture an opinion, I think it advisable that some engineer or other competent officer be instructed to ascend in balloon Washington from time to time until my return, for the purpose of reconnoitering from Fredericksburg as low down as the commanding general deems necessary.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief Aeronaut, Army of the Potomac.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
April 29, 1863--10 p.m.

Mr. E. S. ALLEN:

        The commanding general directs that your balloon be taken to Banks' Ford in order to take very important observations before and after daybreak. I will be there at daybreak, but you can commence to take observations should I not be there in time. The best way to go is to follow the signal telegraph. Look out for obstructions, &c., and don't fail, for now is your time to gain a position.

Respectfully, &c.,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

 

BANKS' FORD, April 30, 1863--10.45 a.m.

Maj. Gen. BUTTERFIELD,
Chief of Staff, &c. :

        The balloon arrived at 3 a.m., but since that time have not been able to get an observation until now. The enemy opposite here are apparently not near as strong as they are opposite Franklin's Crossing, while opposite United States Ford there appears to be only one camp. I cannot yet see to Bowling Green, owing to the low clouds. The enemy's smokes are more numerous than usual in the rear of the heights opposite Franklin's Crossing below Fredericksburg.

T. S. C. LOWE,
Aeronaut.

 

BANKS' FORD, April 30, 1863--l.30 p.m.

Maj. Gen. BUTTERFIELD, &C.:

        The enemy opposite this ford occupy three positions from a half to one mile from the river, also opposite what I take to be United States Ford. About five miles up there is a small force. To the left of Banks' Ford, commanding the road, the enemy have a battery in position. It is hard to estimate their force, for they are partially concealed in the pine woods, but they are certainly not near as strong as below Fredericksburg.

Respectfully, &c.,
T. S. C. LOWE.

 

4.45 P.M.

        The enemy opposite this place remain the same as last reported. Numerous camp smokes are now arising from the woods, about ten or twelve miles in a southwest by westerly direction.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

HEADQUARTERS AERONAUTIC CORPS,
Camp near Falmouth, April 30, 1863---8.30 p.m.

Major General BUTTERFIELD,
Chief of Staff:

        GENERAL: After my report at 4.45 this p.m. I came down to General Sedgwick's headquarters and ascended at 7 o'clock, remaining up until after dark in order to see the location of the enemy's camp-fires. I find them most numerous in a ravine about one mile beyond the heights opposite General Sedgwick's forces, extending from opposite the lower crossing to a little above the upper crossing. There are also many additional fires in the rear of Fredericksburg. From appearances I should judge that full three-fourths of the enemy's force is immediately back and below Fredericksburg.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

        This last report was of much importance, as it gave the commanding general correct information as to the position of the enemy, and he was enabled to regulate his operations at Banks' and United States Fords accordingly. I was confident that the enemy had brought up reserves from Bowling Green and the Junction, and this induced me to hasten to Franklin's Crossing to take an observation there the same evening, although I was considerably exhausted from having been up all the previous day and night. I also concluded from General Hooker's movements that the enemy would learn them, and probably move up the river the next morning. I accordingly sent the following order to an assistant in charge of the balloon at Banks' Ford, and to this and the reports I made on the following morning I would call attention.

APRIL 30, 1863.

Mr. E. S. ALLEN,
In Charge of Balloon Eagle, Banks' Ford:

        Commence observations at daylight to-morrow morning, and look out for the enemy moving on the roads, either up or down, and report by telegraph, having your dispatch sent to General Hooker at United States Ford, and to General Sedgwick, Franklin's Crossing. Be sure of the correctness of your reports, and report promptly.

T. S. C. LOWE,
Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

        The following eight dispatches were of the greatest importance, and especially when it is considered that all of these movements were out of sight of all but the observer in the balloon, and the information could not have been obtained in any other way:

BALLOON IN THE AIR,
May 1, 1863--9.15 a.m.

Major-General SEDGWICK,
Commanding Left Wing, Army of the Potomac:

        GENERAL: Heavy columns of the enemy's infantry and artillery are now moving up the river accompanied by many army wagons, the foremost column being about opposite Falmouth and three miles from the river. There is also a heavy reserve on the heights opposite the upper crossing, and all the rifle-pits are well filled.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

9.30 A. M.

        Still another column has just started from opposite the upper crossing, but not those mentioned as reserved in my last dispatch. They are moving with great rapidity.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

10 A. M.

A column of the enemy are now crossing a small run that empties into the Rappahannock at Banks' Ford. One of the columns that left from opposite here required thirty minutes to pass a given point. The balloon at Banks' Ford is continually up. Long trains of wagons are still moving to the right.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

11 A.M.

        I can see no earth-works on the Bowling Green road. I should judge that the guns had been taken from the earth-works to the right of Fredericksburg. Another train of wagons is moving to the right on a road about one mile from beyond the heights opposite Franklin's Crossing. The enemy's barracks opposite Banks' Ford are entirely deserted. The largest column of the enemy is moving on the road toward Chancellorsville. The enemy on the opposite heights I judge considerably diminished. Can see no change under the heights and in the rifle-pits. I can see no diminution in the enemy's tents.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

12.30 P.M.

        In a west-northwest direction, about twelve miles, an engagement is going on. Can see heavy smoke and hear artillery. In a west-southwest direction, about four miles, artillery is moving toward the engagement. A large force of the enemy are now digging rifle-pits-extending from Deep Run to down beyond the lower crossing just by the edge of woods at the foot of the opposite heights. There are but few troops in sight now except those manning batteries and in the rifle-pits. There appears to be a strong force in the rifle-pits.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

2.15 P. M.

        The enemy opposite here remain the same as last reported. Immense volumes of smoke are arising where the battle is going on opposite United States Ford. A large force must be engaged on both sides. This would be a good time for some staff officer to ascend, if it is desirable to you.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

2.45 P. M.

        The enemy are throwing up earth-works for artillery on a little rise of ground at the foot of the height about 300 yards from Deep Run.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

3.45 P. M.

        The smoke from the battle appears to be in the same position, but in much lighter volumes. Everything opposite here remains the same.

T. S. C. LOWE,
Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
May 2, 1863--5.15 a.m.

Professor LOWE:

        Please get up your balloon at once and let me know the position of the enemy's troops.

DANL. BUTTERFIELD,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
May 2, 1863.

Professor LOWE:

        Add to former dispatch and notice any movements toward Sedgwick's.

D. BUTTERFIELD,
Major-general.

 

GENERAL SEDGWICK'S COMMAND,
May 2, 1863--6.15 a.m.

Major-General BUTTERFIELD, &C.:

        The troops opposite this place remain in the same position as last evening. Owing to the high wind now prevailing I am unable to use a glass sufficiently to see whether there is any movement on the roads between here and the battleground of yesterday or not. I will examine them the first opportunity and report.

Respectfully, &c.,
T. S. C. LOWE.

 

MAY 2, 1863--7.80 A. M.

        I have just obtained a tolerably good view of all the main roads beyond the heights and toward Chancellorsville, but could see no troops or wagon trains on them. The enemy opposite remain in the same positions, apparently without any increase.

Respectfully, &c.,
T. S. C. LOWE.

 

MAY 2, 1863--7.45 A. M.

General BUTTERFIELD, &C.:

        Heavy cannonading has just commenced in a westerly direction about twelve miles. The enemy are shelling our troops opposite here.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

MAY 2, 1863--8.15 A. M.

Professor LOWE:

        Has the enemy's force decreased any?

DANL. BUTTERFIELD,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.

 

8.30 A. M.

        I cannot say that the enemy have decreased, but they do not show themselves quite as much this morning, and I can see no reserves on the opposite heights.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

MAY 2, 1863--12 M.

Professor LOWE:

        Why is not the balloon up, and why do we not hear from it?

DANL. BUTTERFIELD,
Major-General.

 

12.30 P. M.

Major-General BUTTERFIELD, &C.:

        GENERAL: I have made several efforts to ascend, but found the wind too high and could not use the glass. It is getting calmer now, and I will try again.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

MAY 2, 1863--1.05 P. M.

        The enemy remain the same opposite this point, and no movement is visible on any of the roads seen from the balloon. The wind continues so flawy that the balloon was blown from a thousand feet elevation to near the earth.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

3.15 P.M.

        A brigade of the enemy left from opposite the upper crossing fifteen minutes since, and crossed Deep Run, and is now moving to the right toward Banks' Ford. They have also disappeared from opposite our extreme left, below the lower crossing.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

3.45 P.M.

        The enemy's troops that I saw moving to the right took the Plank road in the rear of Fredericksburg.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

MAY 2, 1863--4.15 P.M.

        The enemy have entirely withdrawn their advanced line, with the exception of a small picket force.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

5.30 P.M.

        Nearly all of the enemy's force have been withdrawn from the opposite side. I can only see a small force in the neighborhood of their earth-works. I cannot at this time get a sufficient elevation to tell what roads they take, but should judge by the appearance of army wagons moving to the right that the troops are moving that way also.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

SIGNAL STATION, May 3, 1863.

Professor LOWE:

        I am directed to inform you that your reports can be forwarded to headquarters Army of Potomac by telegraph. The station is where it was yesterday. Your reports to General Sedgwick can be forwarded by flag signals from station on bluff, immediately in front.

With great respect, your obedient servant,
F. WILSON,

First Lieutenant, in Charge Telegraph Station.

        At 6 a.m. I was called upon by an aide, who said the general desired me to make a close examination of the enemy's position, and to point out his strongest and weakest points along the line of earthworks about Fredericksburg. The following was my report:

MAY 3, 1863--5.15 A.M.

Major-General SEDGWICK, and
General BUTTERFIELD,
Chief of Staff:

        The enemy have apparently increased their force during the night, and appear again at the foot of the opposite heights. There does not appear to be as many, however, as yesterday morning.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

7.15 A.M.

Major-General SEDGWICK, and
General BUTTERFIELD,
Chief of Staff:

        The enemy's infantry is very light along the whole line opposite here, and especially immediately in the rear of Fredericksburg. I can see no troops moving this way on any of the roads. Heavy cannonading has just commenced on the right toward Chancellorsville.

T. S. C. LOWE.

        Our troops were immediately concentrated in front, and at 11 o'clock the point reported by me to be the weakest was charged and very handsomely taken. I do not believe that any other point could have been taken by the same number of men.

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
May 6, 1863--12.20 p.m.

Professor LOWE, &c.:

        The commanding general wishes to have one balloon sent to United States Ford, inflated if possible. What answer shall I make to the general?

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

        In answer to the above dispatch I informed the general that I had but two balloons fit for use, one at Banks' Ford and the other at Fredericksburg, and that I would move whichever one to United States Ford he should direct. As it was necessary to know what movements the enemy were making in their rear, and the two places mentioned being the best for observations for that purpose, the general returned the following order:

UNITED STATES FORD, May 6, 1863.

General WILLIAMS:

        Leave the balloons for the present where they are--Fredericksburg and Banks' Ford.

J. HOOKER,
Major-General.

 

MAY 4, 1863 -12 M.

Generals SEDGWICK and BUTTERFIELD:

        The enemy that entered the earth-works in the rear of Fredericksburg still remains. They also have considerable infantry and some wagons with their artillery on the heights to the left of Hazel Run. A portion of General Sedgwick's command occupies a position to the right commanding the enemy. I should estimate the enemy to be now in sight at least 15,000 strong.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

6.15 P.M.

Generals HOOKER and SEDGWICK:

        The enemy are advancing in large force to attack our forces on the right of Fredericksburg.

 

6.50 P.M.

        The enemy are engaged in full force and driving our forces badly.

 

MAY 4, 1863--7.30 P.M.

        The enemy have driven our left with a large force and have possession of the river opposite Falmouth.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

MAY 5, 1863--10.45 A.M.

Major-General BUTTERFIELD,
Chief of Staff:

        I am unable at this time to see any movements of the enemy except some wagons moving up and some down the river. The enemy in force appear to hold all the ground they gained yesterday.

T. S. C. LOWE.

 

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., May 7, 1863.

Capt. C. B. COMSTOCK,
Chief Engineer, Army of the Potomac:

        CAPTAIN: The heavy storm of the 5th and 6th instant caused the loss of the entire gas from one balloon, partially from the other; also destroyed ten carboys of acid and four barrels of iron trimmings.
        I would therefore respectfully recommend that 100 carboys of acid and twenty barrels of iron be at once ordered by telegraph.

I remain, very respectfully, &c.
T. S. C. LOWE,

Chief of Aeronautics, Army of the Potomac.

        Shortly after sending the above to Captain Comstock I called on him personally, relative to putting in order several balloons which needed repairs, and also to learn what decision had been made relative to my communication of April 12, 1863. Captain Comstock informed me that he would select the person to superintend that business---(the delicate one of putting balloons in order.) He also informed me that the terms were indicated in his indorsement on my communication. I informed him that was not satisfactory, and inasmuch as I had given notice on the 12th of April that I could not serve on the terms he named, and as the battle was now over, I wished to be relieved, provided it was a suitable time; to which Captain Comstock replied that if I was going I could probably be spared better then than any other time. I received pay up to April 7 inclusive, and came to Washington.
        On the 8th I received the following dispatch, which is an indication that General Hooker was not informed of the change that had been made in the aeronautic department.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
May 8, 1863.

        General Hooker sent one of his aides over at 10 a.m. to tell you to have two balloons up, and to keep them up all the time. I informed the aide that you had left the Army of the Potomac. Will you not write Hooker?

J. F. GIBSON.

CONCLUSION.

        I have endeavored in this report not only to furnish a complete account of my own operations in connection with the military service, but to present all the essential facts for the use of the historian of this war relative to the introduction, use, and results of aeronautic observations. I feel assured that whatever may be the estimate of my own services, it will redound to the honor and credit of President Lincoln and his Administration that they have availed themselves of every means to crush this rebellion which loyal minds could devise or loyal men be willing to execute.
        The details I have presented all have their significance when taken in connection with other facts relative to the conduct of the war known to the military authorities; and I have on this account, as well as from the entire novelty of the history, not thought it advisable to condense or abridge this report to a greater extent.
        In conclusion, I would briefly state a few of the most important matters which deserve consideration.
        First. The Government decided to introduce my system of aeronautics into the service---only after satisfactory experiments and practical tests had proved its importance--and it has been continued in constant use for two years under various generals, which would not have been the case had not experience demonstrated its utility, and the truth of all I originally claimed for it.
        Second. Without wishing to disparage others, I may safely claim that my improved balloons and apparatus, including the portable gas generator (which are entirely my invention), are the only ones which are found to be adapted to the wants of the army service, and that I have done more to perfect the system, and to render it efficient and reliable than all who have been engaged in the art since the experiments of Guy Lussac in 1784.
        To gain this knowledge has cost me many years hard labor and nearly $30,000 in money, and for which the United States Government alone is daily reaping the benefits.
        Third. During the whole period of my employment I have devoted all my mental and physical energies to secure the success of the enterprise. I have never shrunk from the discharge of my duty, however hazardous, and holding no commission, I have often been perplexed and put to inconvenience in doing the business of the aeronautic department, which properly belonged to a commissioned officer, but for want of one acquainted with the business was compelled to do it myself. I have also been at all times exposed to the danger of being treated as a spy had I fallen into the hands of the enemy.
        Fourth. For the first large balloon and apparatus brought to Washington and used in the preliminary experiments for the Secretary of War, and afterward at Falls Church, Fort Corcoran, and other places, I have never received compensation, nor for my labor and time, and expense of keeping a party of men employed for making the aforesaid experiments.
        Fifth. It must be evident, without attempt at demonstration, that so novel and peculiar an apparatus as a balloon requires the most careful and trustworthy management and the most skilled and experienced observers. Having had more practical knowledge and greater experience in this business than any one else, I respectfully submit that the compensation I have asked and received has been small in comparison with the services performed.
        Sixth. The plans I have proposed are calculated to be of great value to the Army, and if proper facilities were afforded most important results could be obtained. Instead therefore of any curtailment of the aeronautic department I would most respectfully recommend its being permanently adopted as an arm of the military service, with established positions and regulations for those connected with its management. The persons to be selected for this service should be those tested in the field, and found to be the most reliable and experienced, who can instruct others when required. For want of proper facilities and persons capable for the service I have been unable to propose an extension of the balloon service to all parts of this army.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
T. S. C. LOWE,

Aeronaut.

        P. S.--Since completing this report I have obtained a copy of the Prince de Joinville's narrative of the Peninsular Campaign, from which I extract the following:

Page 47:
The shells from the rifled guns flew in all directions with a length of range which had not before been suspected. The accuracy of their fire forced us to abandon all the signal posts we had established in the tops of the tallest trees. The balloon itself, whenever it rose in the air, was saluted with an iron hail of missiles which were, however, perfectly harmless.

Page 67:
Could the Federals meet, with a powerful concentration of troops, that concentration which the enemy had effected, and to the reality of which the observations of our aeronauts, as well as the statements of deserters, daily bore witness?

Page 72:
 It had been built by General Sumner, about half-way between Bottom's Bridge and the most advanced point of the Federal lines. It saved that day the whole Federal army from destruction.

NOTE.--I have the best of reasons to believe that Sumner's Bridge was completed a day sooner than it otherwise would have been by my frequent reports that the enemy were moving to the left. (See my dispatches to General McClellan of June 29, 1862, and following with comments.)

Page 75:
Some time had been lost under the impression that the attack on the right bank might be a feint. An end was soon put to all doubts on the subject by the vehemence of the attack, and by the aeronauts who reported the whole Confederate army moving to the scene of action. It was then that Sumner received the order to pass the river with his divisions.

NOTE.---See my dispatches of May 31 and June 1 with comments.

Page 86:
The presence of Jackson at Hanover Court-House proved that he intended to attack our communications, and cut them off by seizing the York River Railway. The maneuver was soon put beyond a doubt. A considerable body of troops were seen to leave Richmond, move in the direction of Jackson, and execute that movement to turn us, the danger of which we have already pointed out.

NOTE.--The above information was given in my reports of the 26th and 27th of June, 1862.

T. S. C. LOWE.

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