War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0269 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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WASHINGTON, D. C., December 16, 1861.

Lieutenant Colonel A. V. COLBURN,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

DEAR SIR: I returned yesterday from Poolesville, after stationing balloon and necessary inflating apparatus with General Stone's division. This is the third of the new inflating apparatus which has been sent out, and three more are now ready to go as soon as the other two balloons are finished. I commenced inflation at Edwards Ferry on Friday at 4 p.m., and in three hours generated gas sufficient to lift 1,200 pounds.

On Saturday morning I ascended quite early and took an observation of the enemy's country. Very few troops were visible, and these were scattered both up and down the river. We could see into nearly every street of Leesburg, but scarcely any troops were visible. The main body appears to be between Leesburg and Centerville-I should judge fifteen or twenty miles below the former-as camps and heavy smokes were quite visible in that direction.

Later in the day I ascended again, and a number of their tents which were visible in the morning inside of their earth- works between Edwards Ferry and Leesburg were taken down, and teams were observed moving toward the village of Leesburg.

In the afternoon I was accompanied in my ascension by General Stone, who added several points to his map. The balloon still remains inflated, and will be ready for use at all times, in charge of a competent assistant aeronaut. The balloon now located at Budd's Ferry has been inflated over two weeks without any replenishing.

The communication of W. G. Fullerton, of December 2, in reference to photographic pictures taken from the balloon which was referred to me, has been examined, and I would say that the author advances no new ideas. As soon as other matters connected with the balloons are accomplished I shall give the photographic matter a thorough and practical test.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. S. C. LOWE,


During the months of January and February balloons were kept in constant use at Budd's Ferry, Md., under the orders of General Hooker; at Poolesville, Md., General Stone's command; at Fort Royal, S. C., General Sherman's command, and there was one also sent to Cairo, Ill. The one last mentioned was used by Commodore Foote at the attack on Island No. 10. During the bombardment an officer of the Navy ascended and discovered that our shot and shell went beyond the enemy, and by altering the range our forces were soon able to compel the enemy to evacuate.

Up to the 1st of March I was principally occupied in visiting the different balloon stations and keeping everything in order. As the reports were made directly to the officers in command of the posts where the balloons were stationed, I can only furnish the following communications:

POOLESVILLE, January 20, 1862.

Professor LOWE,

National Hotel, Washington:

Please send up the small balloon immediately. The large one has suffered in its varnish from the excessively bad wearther.


Brigadier-General of Volunteers.

POOLESVILLE, January 25, 1862.

Professor LOWE,

National Hotel, Washington:

The balloon Intrepid got an inch of ice on it last night and is reported much injured. Hurry up the smaller one.