War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0253 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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amusement or experiment, but they have never been constructed of durable materials, nor combined those qualities essential for frequent or long-continued observations, or for transportation from place to place, until the present war. The French were the first and only nation to make any use of this important means of securing information of the position and movements of an enemy, and even the imperfect apparatus they employed secured great advantages to them on two occasions. One of these was in June, 1794, when they were used for reconnoitering the position of the Austrians at the battle of Fleurus; the other was at the battle of Solferino, in 1859.

For nearly ten years my attention has been given to the subject of aeronautics, and I have made large expenditures in practical experiments to perfect and develop the system. Notwithstanding the fact that balloons were first invented in 1782, but little had been subsequently done to improve them. Various inventions of air ships had come into notice and proved to be impracticable, although the possibility of devising a means of navigating the air with safety was believed by many. Fully convinced of this myself, and that science and skill would produce the long- desired invention, I constructed a large balloon in 1859 for experiments, preliminary to an attempt to cross the Atlantic. This balloon when filled with gas would lift more than twenty tons in weight. The envelope alone weighed two and a quarter tons. Though treated as a vigorously by the unthinking and by the timid, I received substantial aid and support from some of the most eminent scientific men of the country, and was thus encouraged to labor or in improving and perfecting every part of my apparatus, so that no reasonable ground of doubt should exist as to the ultimate success of the experiment.

In December, 1860, I presented the following memorial to the Smithsonian Institution, which I take the liberty of including in this report as an evidence of the favor with which any my enterprise was looked upon by the distinguished men whose names are subscribed to it:

PHILADELPHIA, December -, 1860.


Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.:

The undersigned, citizens of Philadelphia, have taken a deep interest in the attempt of Mr. T. S. C. Lowe to cross the Atlantic by aeronautic machinery, and have confidence that his extensive preparations of effect that object will add greatly to scientific knowledge. Mr Lowe has individually spent much time and money in the enterprise, and in addition the citizens of Philadelphia have contributed several thousand dollars to further his efforts in demonstrating the feasibility of trans-Atlantic air navigation. With reliance upon Mr. Lowe and his plans, we cheerfully recommend him to the favorable consideration of the Smithsonian Institution, and trust such aid and advice will be furnished him by that distinguished body as may assist in the success of the attempt, in which we take a deep interest.





The Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to whom the memorial was referred, gave it a careful consideration, and although he did not recommend the appropriation of any of the funds of the Institution to assist me in constructing the balloon, stated the following as the result of his investigation:

It has been fully established by continuous observations collected at this Institution for ten years, from every part of the United States, that, as a general rule, all the meteorological phenomena advance from west to east, and that the